North West Premier, Professor Tebogo Job Mokgoro, has called for strengthening the integrated approach towards combating illegal mining activities.
Mokgoro made the call during his visit to Matlosana Local Municipality following the discovery of 20 bodies of suspected illegal miners near Lawrence Park’s mine ventilation shaft, which is no longer operational in Orkney, near Klerksdorp.
The Premier said the situation is unacceptable and calls for immediate action.
“The situation calls for drastic, deliberate action that should happen almost immediately. I made it very clear that we have to strengthen our integrated approach towards dealing with illegal mining. Our efforts must be more sustainable and long lasting in terms of effectiveness.
“We really believe that not sufficient role players have been taking part in operations. Going forward we will pull all resources together to combat, counter and eradicate this menace completely,” Mokgoro said.
Before the inspection of the mine, the Premier, accompanied by Community Safety and Transport Management MEC Sello Lehari and Acting Provincial Commissioner General Dintletse Molefe, received a report on efforts by the South African Police Service, which include different operations geared towards dealing with illegal mining.
The reports painted a sophisticated operation by the heavily armed illegal miners in different Matlosana Municipality towns.
According to the report, over 50 people have been arrested in different operations, and gold material as well as firearms were seized. The suspects are still appearing in court.
Lehari said residents needs to work with the police to arrest those who are behind these operations which are problematic to the communities in the area.
Lehari said police are on high alert and investigation are on-going, with other police been deployed in the identified hotspots.
“We are expecting more arrests soon. Residents must work with us and give us the necessary information. Thus far the information that came through is not enough.
“We need to educate our people to work with the police and inform us because the perpetrators are part of our communities. Indeed an integrated will go a long way in dealing with the illegal miners,” Lehari said.
The Premier said sustainable joint operations are expected to ensue in due course. –