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Zama-zamas 'require specialised unit'

───   06:55 Thu, 17 Jun 2021

Zama-zamas 'require specialised unit' | News Article
Image: Supplied

The Department of Mineral Resources' minister Gwede Mantashe has visited China Africa Precious metals in Orkney outside Klerksdorp in the North West, after twenty bodies were discovered stashed next to the road on Tuesday.

The bodies are suspected to be of zama-zamas, operating in an obsolete shaft in Orkney and Stilfontein.

In addressing the media, Mantashe said zama-zamas require a specialised unit as they are usually armed.

North West Health MEC, Madoda Sambatha, who accompanied Mantashe, says it is dangerous for anyone to illegally mine as it may pose a health hazard.

Mantashe says his department will discuss the issue of rehabilitation, closure, and sealing off of the shaft, however saying that is only half of the solution.

OFM News has reported that police have launched investigations into the matter, as police spokesperson, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, said a case of inquest has been opened.

"This is a disaster, but illegal mining is a criminal activity. As such we appeal to law enforcement to have a specialised unit to deal with illegal mining and stealing of precious metals," said Mantashe.

The twenty bodies have been taken for autopsies.

Mantashe says zama-zamas must be taken out of mining areas as they impact on mines, production, and communities, saying a comprehensive plan and strategy needs to be developed for a long-term solution.

OFM News/Joba Matsheng

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