9 Krugersdorp Zama zamas flee police arrest in movie-style while having braai


Police have been using a drone to monitor illegal mining operations in Krugersdorp, on the West Rand, with Gauteng provincial commissioner LtGen Elias Mawela saying they encountered challenges when raiding the mine dump.

Yesterday, police officers, including K-9 units, raided a mine dump in Krugersdorp, arresting two of 11 zama-zamas and confiscated gas cylinders and phendukas (hand-driven cylinders).

Mawela said 11 people were found at the mine dump yesterday, initially arresting two as others escaped into a tunnel. By 7pm, 24 people had been arrested. “Our drone showed us that there were about 11 of them here, they were even preparing meat for braai.

“When they saw the police they ran into a tunnel because they understand the terrain better. The tunnel stretches 10km. We used our drone to locate this place and when the police came up here, they ran away and went into the tunnel. The tunnel stretches up to Kagiso. This is the fortress point of their operation. We felt we needed to launch the operation here so that we can disrupt them,” Mawela said.

“This is their operational area. They process whatever minerals they got and use their tools of trade such as the phendukas and gas cylinders. They hide their gas cylinders in the ground so that they cannot be seen by the police. These guys bring their materials here and wash the goldbearing material so that they can separate the gold from that material. They are also using the mercury. We have found the mercury.

“It will take them some time to re-establish themselves because the kind of equipment they are using is quite expensive equipment. Once we have removed this equipment, it can take them three to whatever months… At least we will have a breather and concentrate on other areas.

“Some of the people went to their location where they sleep. We got their addresses, we have sent some teams to those addresses, we hope we will find them there,” he said.

Yesterday’s raid comes a day after more than 60 people were arrested for illegal mining activities in West Village, also on the West Rand.

Last week, 81 people were arrested between Friday and Saturday after eight women were robbed and raped by a group of armed men at a mine dump in West Village.

None have been linked to the rapes as police await DNA results.

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