Police Minister Cele set to visit West Rand after protests over illegal miners

Residents have been demonstrating in different parts of area since Thursday.

Protest in Kagiso over illegal mining in the area on 4 August 2022 Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey-Makhaza/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele is expected to visit the West Rand on Saturday morning to talk to residents about illegal mining activities and crime issues plaguing the area.

Residents have been demonstrating in different parts of the area since Thursday.

The communities have been searching for the illegal miners, also referred to as zama zamas, where several people were arrested in connection with unlawful operations.

Burning tyres and stones blocking all entry points into Kagiso and other areas on the West Rand – this has been the scene over the past few days.

The search for those believed to be zama zamas saw residents go into specific sections, raiding homes known to be where the illegal miners live or store equipment.

Some of these houses had holes in the floor - tunnels to a nearby mine dump.

The suspects found were handed over by the community to the police.

Law enforcement has confirmed that gold-bearing material amounting to more than R2.5 million was found.

Lirandzu Themba is the minister’s spokesperson: "These crime-combatting imbizos seek to provide residents with a platform to discuss and engage the SAPS, identify crime affecting the community as well as set up long-term policing interventions."

Police remain on high alert.