The African National Congress (ANC), which met for three days during its ordinary National Executive Committee at Birchwood, Boksburg, has recommitted itself to tackling illegal mining, which continues to be a thorn on the side of the law enforcement agencies.
During the last day of the three-day meeting, minister of police and member of the ANC NEC, Bheki Cele, said the police have adopted an integrated approach to deal with illegal mining.
He said government was in the process of finalising the structure that would include South African National Defence Force, Home Affairs, the police, state security and other institutions to tackle illegal mining.
“We have been dealing with the issue at lower and mid-level. We have nine people that have been arrested who are in the middle class of zama zamas, and those people they own beautiful houses. When they visited their houses in Carltonville, their furniture is imported, and there are some few Lamborghinis parked there,” he said.
Cele said the Special Investigative Unit and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) have attached 51 cars and seven houses to the value of R38 million.
“These people are attending court as we speak. Six of them are foreign nationals, and three are South Africans. We are also dealing with the take over of mines, as you have seen in North West. There is a mine that we have tackled. We have taken trucks and arrested the owner of the mine,” Cele said.
The hostile takeover of mines, Cele said, was not confined in the Northwest province, as there is another mine in Limpopo.
“There is another mine in Limpopo. We have taken the machinery worth millions of rands as they are operating without a licence and permits,” he said.
Cele said the police were continuing to arrest illegal miners following a recent arrest of 700 people said to be zama zamas in the Northern Cape.
When it comes to the resurgence of cash-in-transit heists, which has resulted in over 250 robberies this year, Cele said the police were working hard in clamping down on criminals after exchanging fire with the CIT gang in Makhado last month.
“When it comes to the current challenge of CIT heists, there was a 90-minute fire exchange between the police and the thugs in Makhado, and we were able to destabilise 19 of them,” he said.
On Sunday, the party admitted that it had missed an opportunity to deal with hijacked buildings in various metros when it failed to act after people were evicted.
The party was providing a progress report on a number of service delivery issues and challenges as it held a special NEC meeting in Joburg at the weekend.