More than 100 suspected illegal miners arrested in SANDF-police raid at Ekurhuleni informal settlement
More than 100 suspected illegal miners were arrested during a joint operation by police and the SA Defence Force in the Ekurhuleni area on Friday.
SANDF, Home Affairs officials and other law enforcement agencies descended on Marathon informal settlement in Primrose where there has been an outcry about illegal mining and random shootings.
“During the operation, which started in the morning until late in the afternoon on Friday, the team arrested more than 100 undocumented people who are also suspected to be involved in illegal mining in the area,” said police spokesperson Lt-Col Mavela Masondo.
He said law enforcement agencies raided and dismantled several structures where suspected illegal miners illegally process gold-bearing material.
A “significant” quantity of tools of the trade including gas cylinders, pendukas, explosives, and generators were seized.
Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela applauded the integrated forces for the success and urged the community to continue to report illegal activities, including illegal mining.
“The presence of the SANDF members and other law enforcement agencies is helping us a great deal as we continue to make inroads in the fight against illegal mining in our province,” said Mawela.
The joint operations, led by senior officers, are expected to continue across the province to deal with the scourge of illegal mining.
In October this year, the Sunday Times reported that residents of a once-prestigious Ekurhuleni neighbourhood could not allow their children to play outside because of a turf war between illegal miners that has raged for a year at a municipal dumpsite on their doorstep.
One resident of Simmerfield in Primrose, Merril Heyns, 60, whose house is next to the dump, described one of the shoot-outs along Main Reef Road.
She said the Ekurhuleni metro police and private security blocked the road to protect motorists from being hit. “Illegal miners started fighting back against the security and metro police. It was mayhem,” she said.
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