At least five bodies were found after Gauteng police responded to a shooting incident in Riverlea and the nearby Zamimpilo informal settlement.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said at the scene, and during the investigation, police discovered five bodies with gunshot wounds.
Preliminary police investigations suggest that two rival groups of illegal miners were shooting at each other in the area, and that led to the death of the five people.
“Police have deployed members from the Tactical Response Team and Public Order Policing to monitor the area. A case of murder, with five counts, has been opened,” said Masondo.
“Police are appealing to anyone who might have information that can help in the investigation or assist in the apprehension of the suspects to please call the nearest police station or call crime stop on 086-001-0111.”
Over the weekend, IOL quoted anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee saying he had been receiving calls from concerned residents about the alleged gang terror in the area.
"For weeks, Riverlea residents have been complaining about [illegal miners known as] zama zamas. I have been told that there was another shooting this weekend.”
The area has now become a war zone, with reported constant gunfire between zama zamas who are fighting each other.
Last month, it emerged that at least 31 bodies of suspected illegal miners, believed to be Basotho nationals, are underground at the Virginia Mine in Free State. At the time, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe accused Lesotho of interfering with South Africa’s economy.
Mantashe said officials of the Lesotho government have more information on the tragic incident, after survivors of the mining tragedy in Free State “ran to Lesotho to report” without informing any South African authorities.
He said Lesotho’s minister in charge of mineral resources was deployed to Welkom, Free State. Mantashe added that the Lesotho minister “made a very strange suggestion”, that surviving illegal miners should be deployed to go underground and retrieve bodies of the deceased illegal miners.