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Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene and “bring the firepower of the state” to illegal miners in the province. 

Lesufi was speaking at the ANC election manifesto review on Sunday at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg. He urged Ramaphosa to ensure a stronger security cluster response to the illegal mining debacle in the province.

“We are under siege from amazama zamas [illegal miners] in our province; we are under siege from criminals in our province. Please comrade president, bring the firepower of the state, whether it is the army or police, they must go down there and flush them out until the last person is standing,” Lesufi said. 

In July, five illegal miners were killed in a Riverlea attack believed to be a result of a turf war among. These battles among zama zamas were reported to have left community members living in fear.

After the deadly attack, Riverlea residents protested, calling for the deployment of the army in the township. 

Chair of the Gauteng legislature’s portfolio committee on community safety Thebe Khumalo said law enforcement agencies in the province seem to be powerless and defeated in their fight against illegal mining as fatalities continue to increase.

“The people of Gauteng can no longer afford to live in fear of zama zamas. The safety of citizens should be a priority and we cannot allow lawlessness to continue unabated. 

“As part of a heightened response the committee will be writing to the president and premier of Gauteng to consider the deployment of members of the SA National Defence Force to end the scourge of illegal mining in the province once and for all,” Khumalo said. 

In July, 17 people died in the Angelo informal settlement after gas leaked from a cylinder allegedly used by zama zamas operating in the area. 

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