President Cyril Ramaphosa has roped in 3,300 soldiers to help the police in the fight against illegal mining across the country.
Ramaphosa wrote to Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo this week that the deployment of the army was from the end of October until the end of April next year.
The State is expected to spend R492 million on the deployment of the army.
Zama zamas have been accused of crime in the province, with some of the rival gangs engaged in open warfare.
In his letter to the Speaker and NCOP chairperson, Ramaphosa said the soldiers will work with the police across the country.
“This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have authorised the employment of three thousand three hundred members of the South African National Defence Force for service in cooperation with the South African Police Service to prevent and combat crime and maintain and preserve law and order in the Republic of South Africa under Operation Prosper.
“Members of the SANDF employed will, in cooperation with the SAPS, be conducting a high intensified anti-criminality against illegal mining across all provinces, for a period October 28, 2023 until April 28, 2024,” said Ramaphosa.
The issue of zama zamas has also been discussed by the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on mineral resources and energy and the impact this has on the economy.
The committee was in Gauteng recently where it held meetings with various stakeholders on the scourge of illegal mining.