More than 4 000 people linked to illegal mining were arrested in SA between April and August this year

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: BONGIWE MCHUNU

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: BONGIWE MCHUNU

Published Nov 10, 2023


Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise revealed that about 4 067 suspects have been arrested on various illegal mining related charges.

Modise said the National Intervention Team deployed in Mpumalanga to deal with Illegal mining and Eskom energy crisis, resulted in the arrest of 67 illegal miners with mining equipment worth R180 million and coal worth R12m seized.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster hosted a media briefing to provide progress made in combating organised crime, at GCIS Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre yesterday (Friday).

Modise said between April and August 2023, a total of 329 accused were convicted of offences related to illicit mining.

She said during the same period, they had 7 351 cases in which the accused were convicted of contraventions of the Immigrations Act.

“As of this Wednesday, 8 November 2023, a total of 4 068 cases (involving) contraventions of the Immigrations Act are pending before court,” Modise said.

Among the arrested suspects are 63 South Africans and 2 739 foreign nationals from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, DRC, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda.

“These arrests indicate the multinational nature of illegal mining. It must be clearly stated that anyone who comes into conflict with the laws of the RSA shall be dealt with harshly according to our criminal justice system, irrespective of whether that person is a citizen or a foreign national,” Modise said.

Across South Africa country there are 6 100 derelict and owner-less mines. Some of these mines are old and the owners cannot be traced.

There are 1 170 mine openings nationally and in Gauteng there are 518.

“DMRE is going to rehabilitate three mines and has closed 40 mine openings per year and conducting research. The department has plans to deal with this issue over a period of time,” she added.

Modise said the security cluster was making inroads in the fight against drug trafficking. This comes in the wake of drug busts at some of the country's harbours and airports in recent weeks.

“We now are following up on issues of cocaine, which assist… the last one being last week in Gqeberha, where R65 million worth of cocaine was seized from a vessel that was coming in from Brazil. The police are still following up on this.

“Two other drug busts were made in KwaZulu Natal, all of them to the value of around R150 million. We are keeping an eye on Durban harbour,” she said.

Modise said it was encouraging that nine drug laboratories worth more than R3m were dismantled in Gauteng, North West and Western Cape.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said government was engaging Lesotho and Mozambique regarding illegal mining activities allegedly carried out by foreign nationals in South Africa.

“We are also dealing with neighbouring countries; ministers have to deal with their counterparts in Mozambique and Lesotho,” he said

“They are well armed these people (zama zamas). In Klerksdorp we found them with 30 firearms; 15 AK47s, six hunting rifles, two shotguns and one R5, as well as boxes full of ammunition and explosives. We need to deal withe them decisively,” Cele said.

He added that the mines would be sealed.

The Star

Related Topics:

miningSouth Africa