The police are dealing with all the complaints and concerns raised by members of the communities on the West Rand following violent protests against illegal mining activities in the area, according to divisional police commissioner Lieutenant-General Michael Mohlala.
“These issues will not only be dealt with in the short term, but medium and long term as well. There will be reinforcement deployment [of police] to ensure that we do not leave any stone unturned,” said Mohlala after meeting the community on Friday.
A person was killed on Thursday when hundreds of residents took to the streets to voice their anger against illegal miners operating in the area.
The illegal miners, believed to be from Lesotho, have also been blamed for the gang-rape of eight women at an abandoned mine dump in West Village in Krugersdorp last week. The women had gone to the area to shoot a music video when they were robbed and sexually violated.
Mohlala pleaded with the residents to work closely with law-enforcement agencies to fight crime, and advised them not to take the law into their own hands.
Councillor Remy Moeketsi, who also attended the meeting, raised concerns about crime that is spiraling out of control, especially during Women’s Month.
“Such cruelty should not be accepted in our country, we are not being xenophobic but undocumented foreigners should leave. We do not feel safe in our own country and we are afraid to leave our houses lest we become the victims as well,” said Moeketsi.
Community leaders also pleaded with Mohlala not to focus only on illegal miners, but to also deal with police officers who are allegedly working with them.
Brigadier Brenda Muridili said a team, comprising of Gauteng Specialised Units (National Intervention Unit, Tactical Response Unit, K9 Unit, Public Order Police and SAPS Airwing) as well as Visible Policing members were also operating in Matholesville – Roodepoort, where seven undocumented immigrants were arrested. She said their nationalities will be verified by the Department of Home Affairs. Illegal mining operating equipment was seized, grounds were flattened and plastic shacks destroyed.
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