JRA says illegal mining is a threat to the nation
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Johannesburg - Following a raid on the Cleveland, Jumpers informal settlement at the beginning of the month, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) said illegal mining has been identified as a national threat. Already, these illegal activities have started eroding some city roads, causing them to cave in.
JRA chief executive Selemo Monakedi said: “This is another form of vandalism of critical infrastructure. The city is one of the cities in South Africa that is badly affected by the spike of illegal mining.
“The effects of illegal mining can be dire, as the activity is currently causing the desecration of road reserves. It is further posing a health threat in that untreated mercury infused in water used in gold processing, is not contained for safe disposal.
“This polluted water ends up in our water ways. Water and electricity are also connected illegally, depriving the city’s loyal citizens of essential services. The illegal mining activity has also caused damage underneath, where the ground is left hollow and muddy due to digging and excessive water usage, resulting in the occurrence of sinkholes and tremors.”
The roads are collapsing in certain areas around Joburg, for example, Wemmer Pan Road and Nick Toomey Boulevard are currently closed to traffic due to illegal mining.
The aim of the operation, held in partnership with the SAPS, City of Joburg departments and entities, and private companies that are largely affected by illegal mining, was to remove all equipment and machinery used for illegal mining, and to disconnect all illegal water and electricity illegal connections.
Added to the above are criminal activities and the circulation of illegal firearms. For this operation, 150 personnel and 57 vehicles were deployed.
These included SAPS, JMPD, Rapid Rail Police, Transport Department, the JRA, City Power, Hermit Emergency and a representative from the mayor’s office.
Equipment confiscated included electronic mining equipment, phendukas (gold refining macines), generators, crushing pots and manual sand crushing machines. Two people were detained.
“These joint operations are ongoing, as we are aiming at reclaiming our roads. We cannot allow these criminal activities to impede the city’s economy and affect the lives of innocent road users and citizens. Through partnerships with law enforcement agencies, private sector, city departments and entities, including active citizenry and community involvement, we are determined to win this battle,” said Monakedi.
Community members and road users are urged to assist in combating this scourge by reporting the perpetrators to the City of Joburg’s Call Centre 0860 562 874 or report these activities to the SAPS or JMPD.