By Michele Clarke MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety:
The DA notes the recent announcement of the formation of a task team to investigate illegal mining activities in Gauteng, and we hope this is the first of a number of steps to put an end to this scourge on our communities.
According to reports, the announcement comes in the wake of a recent shoot-out between two warring factions of 200 and 500 illegal miners over control of an abandoned mine in Grootvlei, Springs.
To date 19 people have died due to turf wars between gangs of illegal miners. In July, siblings were hospitalised from stray bullets in a turf war over an abandoned mine in Ekurhuleni.
While the task team is a welcomed decision, more definitive steps are needed to protect our communities from this lawlessness. The fact that large groups of illegal miners are armed with automatic weapons – with minimal arrest success – is a serious concern to law-abiding citizens who have lost loved ones as a result of open warfare between rival gangs.
Gauteng communities cannot continue to live in fear, as armed criminals walk freely among. To this end, and specialised police units are needed to put a stop to this.
As a result of this spiralling crisis, the DA has resubmitted a motion for debate calling for such units in the Gauteng Legislature.
The DA will continue to push for the establishment of specialised units until people in our communities can go about their daily business without living in fear.