Durban - At least 20 illegal miners have been arrested in a sting operation at a site in Randfontein on Tuesday morning. Police recovered cellphones as well as firearms and gold at the site.
According to Police Minister, Bheki Cele, one person has been arrested following a shoot-out with law enforcement. Cele said the man was in a critical condition. The minister said most of those arrested are from Mozambique.
A multi-disciplinary team made up of Tactical Response Teams (TRT), Hawks, SAPS Crime Intelligence, K-9 unit and private security companies carried out the sting.
[WATCH] This multi-disciplinary team of @SAPoliceService Tactical Response Teams (TRT), Hawks, SAPS Crime Intelligence , K-9 unit @GTP_Traffstats @SIBSTILL mining security and private security are preparing to take down illegal mining syndicate of #ZamaZama in in Randfontein. pic.twitter.com/3jF85t3u7r— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) August 2, 2022
Cele said the operations will continue throughout problematic regions across the country.
Last week, police arrested more than 80 illegal miners at West Village. Two people were fatally wounded.
This follows an incident where eight women were raped by a group of armed men clad in blankets at West Village.
SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Brenda Muridili, said a crew of 22 people were busy filming a music video when they were attacked.
"The suspects ordered everyone to lay down and proceeded to rape eight of the women and robbed everyone of their belongings before fleeing the scene," she said.
Speaking on Tuesday, Cele said they will be engaging other departments within government to address the ongoing issues.
“The area is bad in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. We were told that these men even take women from their homes and rape them. Our response must be equal to the criminality. We need to get out of our offices and be a part of our communities and show solidarity in our response which must be decisive,” Cele said.
The minister said they are also investigating where the illegal miners are obtaining their firearms from.
[WATCH] These are some of the terrible living conditions some illegal miners or so called #ZamaZama are living in, this is a hide out near @SIBSTILL mine in the West Rand; Gauteng. pic.twitter.com/2iACTY2NHI— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) August 2, 2022
[ZAMA ZAMA] A multi-disciplinary take-down is underway in the West Rand, so far @SAPoliceService have made arrests of #ZamaZamas operating in the area as well as searching for those running the illicit operations. Police Minister General Bheki Cele is on the scene. pic.twitter.com/cqeiMuqfoO— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) August 2, 2022