Total of 271 zama zama males arrested in Ermelo

Total of 271 zama zama males arrested in Ermelo

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/5

SM HATTINGH

18 October 2022

To date, the Tribune has received no further communication from any of the recipients, the department’s Queen Tsebetsebe, nor from the office of the Director General’s Nonhlanhla Ndebele. The DMRE’s Solomon Phetla acknowledged the enquiry, but to date, failed to reply.

A total of 271 males were arrested during an operation focusing on illegal mining in Ermelo on Thursday, 13 October 2022. The illegal mine is located approximately 10KM out of Ermelo on the N11, and the operation was led by the SAPS Gert Sibande District Office. They were assisted by members from the SAPS National Intervention Unit, SAPS Ermelo, Ermelo K9, the SAPS Air Wing, Department of Home Affairs, Kunene Security, Spartan Training, AfriForum Buurtwag and 303 Security. Amongst the suspects arrested were 30 Zimbabwian citizens, 92 citizens from Mozambique and 11 from Swaziland. 138 are South African citizens. Investigation revealed that the citizens from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland did not have proper documentation to be in the country, and the are all facing charges of being in South Africa illegally. The SAPS confiscated one front-end loader, three trucks and six bakkies loaded with coal, wheelbarrows, pick axes and forks, all of which had been used in the illegal mining of coal.

During the arrest, SAPS Air Wing got their eyes on another mine, where they dispatched SAPS members. Upon arrival at the scene, there were an estimated 50 miners, as well as women selling food and colddrinks from a makeshift stall. All of these miners were also arrested. At this location, there is a mine shaft’s opening is at the end of a 150 meter decline.

On Friday, 14 October 2022, outside the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court, family members and working colleagues gathered outside the court waiting for the court case. SAPS visibility was high, and the area cordoned off by SAPS vehciles. At a later stage, the protestors were in front of the SAPS station, were they demanded that the arrested suspects be released to go back to work. Rubber bullets and tear gas was later used to disperse the rowdy crowd, and restore order. The suspects made their appearance before court on Monday, 17 October 2022, were they remained in custody. The suspects that appeared before the court on Monday, are facing all the following charge: the Accused, being an illegal foreigner, is guilty of the offence of contravention of section 49(1)(a), read with sections 9(1) and 9(3)(b) of the immigration Act, Act 13 of 2022 as amended by Act 13 of 2011. The Accused did wrongfully enter the Republic in contravention of the Immigration Act, 2022, by entering the Republic at a place other than a port or entry, or entering the Republic whilst he/she was not in possession of a valid passport or in that the accused, being a foreigner who is not the holder of a permanent residence permit, did enter the Republic while his/her passport was valid for less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended stay, and that he/she was not issued with a valid temporary residence permit; and or in that the entry into the Republic by the said accused was not recorded by an immigration officer, and or remain in the Republic without being iin possession of any form or document allowing him/her to remain in the Republic.

The remaining suspects made their appearance in court on 18 October, and again on 21 October, respectively. In a previous article in Tribune of 9 August 2022, Bidvest Protea Coin lodged several complaints to Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) regarding all these illegal mining in and around Ermelo. The Tribune has also directed an enquiry to the DMRE regarding the activity at these mines, and have received acknowledgment of receipt from two of the seven recipients.

To date, the Tribune has received no further communication from any of the recipients, the department’s Queen Tsebetsebe, nor from the office of the Director General’s Nonhlanhla Ndebele. The DMRE’s Solomon Phetla acknowledged the enquiry, but to date, failed to reply. You may view more photos and videos on our Facebook page, Tribune Ermelo.