National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola said that police did not have enough resources to deal with the growing problem of illegal miners in the country.
Many communities that have been affected by zama zama violence over the years are now putting pressure on the commissioner and law enforcement.
The latest incident in Riverlea has left residents living in terror after five bodies were discovered over the weekend. They’re believed to be linked to a shootout between two rival mining gangs.
After an illegal mining-related gas leak caused the death of 17 people in Boksburg last month, police said that they would deploy specialised teams to deal with the zama zamas.
But Masemola said that from Tuesday, officers would be deployed to Riverlea.
“Currently, we have problems of mines in the Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, that’s currently where we are. But effective today, we are deploying in Riverlea but we are also going to be reinforcing the whole of illicit mining from the West Rand all the way up to Ekurhuleni.”
He said that the SAPS budget had been cut.
“We need to sacrifice some of our resources to go full time on this problem of zama zamas. We have limited resources – the same people used in West Rand are currently in Mpumalanga. When the area has stabilised, we move the resources to where there are current problems and that you can see is not working for us.”