Mantashe wants 'zama zamas' to be licenced

Gwede Mantashe, who delivered his maiden speech in the NCOP, says illegal mining is not a human rights issue and is nothing more than a criminal activity.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe wants tougher action taken against illegal miners.

Mantashe also wants "zama zamas", as they are commonly known, to be licenced like all mining companies.

He made the call in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday when he delivered his department's budget vote.

Mantashe, who delivered his maiden speech in the NCOP, says illegal mining is not a human rights issue and is nothing more than a criminal activity.

He has also repeated his earlier statement that he intends to have discussions with Police Minister Bheki Cele in a bid to curb illegal mining.

"That’s why we are experimenting with the licencing of the 'zama zamas'. The first experiment is in Kimberley."

Mantashe also wants the police minister to consider the setting up of a specialised unit to tackle illegal mining in the same way police deal with stock theft.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)