Limpopo hawks say 11 suspected illegal chrome miners who were arrested in Ga-Maniaka village outside Burgersfort are expected to appear before the Mecklenburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Hawks spokesman Matimba Maluleke says eleven generators, seven jackhammers and wheelbarrows were seized, among other things.
Maluleke says the arrested illegal miners, or so-called zama-zamas, aged between 19 and 37, are suspected to be foreign nationals.
Meanwhile, the Hawks arrested 48 illegal miners in various mining communities in Sekukhune and Waterberg districts in Limpopo. Among those arrested are 38 foreign citizens without documents.
During the arrests, law enforcement agencies confiscated mining equipment, including trucks. Residents of the affected settlements appealed to the police to use more resources to fight against illegal miners.
Law enforcement agencies arrested Zama Zamas in the mining communities of Apele, Atok and Northam in Sekukhune and Waterberg districts in Limpopo respectively.
Zama Zamas use sophisticated equipment to mine chrome, platinum and ore.
Despite the arrests, illegal miners have found workarounds to get back into the trunks. However, some members of the community accuse law enforcement of collaborating with illegal mining syndicates.
They also say that illegal mining has a devastating effect on the environment.
“These pits are very dangerous in the community because as I speak to you, unfortunately I cannot reveal the names of the children who are drowning in the pits, we have involved the police and the Department of Mineral Resources for some time. but nothing happens with illegal mining. We suspect that they are also involved in illegal mining,” says one of the residents.
The Hawks arrested 48 illegal miners in various mining communities in the Sekuhune and Waterberg districts of Limpopo:
The chairman of the Sekuhune Community Mining Forum, Elton Tobigane, says illegal mining syndicates are taking advantage of the economic situation of local people.
Hawks spokesperson Matimba Maluleke says they will be carrying out special operations in the affected areas to quell the Zama Zamas.
“From time to time we carry out subversive operations and we are assisted by our criminal intelligence. We are keeping a high police presence in areas affected by illegal mining.”
Open pit mining, where the Zama Zamas illegally mine, has become common in the Sekukhune area, affecting local residents. Members of the Apel village community have called on the police to allocate more funds to put an end to illegal mining.
Last week, the community of Bekersdal, west of Johannesburg, protested against illegal miners and undocumented foreign nationals: