Kagiso Shutdown: Residents Break Into Homes of Alleged Zama Zamas in Spate of Vigilantism

Kagiso Shutdown: Residents Break Into Homes of Alleged Zama Zamas in Spate of Vigilantism

  • The township of Kagiso has been upended by violence after residents took the law into their own hands and apprehended suspected zama zamas (illegal miners)
  • A man was found dead and 19 suspected illegal immigrants had to be rescued by police after residents embarked on a spree of vigilantism
  • A former police boss confirmed that some of the rescued men are in the country illegally and their status will be investigated

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Protest turns violent during Kagiso shutdown
In a protest that turned violent, residents of Kagiso set the streets ablaze and burned the shacks of suspected zama zamas. Image: GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP
Source: Getty Images

KAGISO - A protest in Kagiso turned violent on Thursday as angry residents broke into the homes of suspected illegal miners and assaulted them.

Frustrated with the high crime levels and disillusioned by the lack of police support, residents took to the streets to apprehend suspected illegal miners.

The Gauteng police had to rescue 19 alleged undocumented immigrants as vigilantes took the law into their own hands.

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According to News24, the protest, which began with residents blocking roads and pelting police with rocks and bottles, descended into chaos when some residents began burglarising the homes of suspected illegal immigrants. The mob ransacked shacks belonging to alleged illegal miners and confiscated equipment from areas from where zama zamas were suspected to have been operating.

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eNCA also reported that some residents could be seen stripping men they believed to be illegal miners and beating them.

According to former Deputy Provincial Commissioner Tommy Mthombeni, there's no confirmation that those targeted were involved in illegal mining. Mthombeni confirmed that after police rescued the 19 people and processed them at the police station, they were found to be in the country illegally, IOL reported.

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Mthombeni has called on communities to cooperate with police to solve the problem of illegal mining in Kagiso. He refuted claims that the police had failed to contain crime in the area, saying:

"If you can look on the ground and the plan that we have put and executed accordingly, you will realise that we are here for the community. Even the people who are arrested today are through the efforts of the police."

Increased police efforts following the gang rape of eight women in Krugersdorp have resulted in the arrest of over a hundred zama zamas.

Some South Africans have commended the residents of Kagiso on their actions:

@MoloiLebs said:

"Big up to the Kagiso community ✊✊✊ It's about time #ZamaZamas #KagisoShutDown ✊✊✊"

@just_teedo commented:

"We are not xenophobic but it’s tiring to see foreigners enjoying benefits of this country while South Africans are suffering from job creation and tax #KagisoShutDown"

Read also

Mogale City shutdown: Protest action leaves 1 dead, residents burn shacks while hunting down illegal miners

Other commenters feel that the shutdown and problem of zama zamas are merely symptoms of poor governance:

Tembisa protests: Another man shot and killed by police as service delivery strike escalates

In similar news, Briefly News reported that the latest reports indicate that two people were shot and killed in Tembisa during a service delivery protest. The second death comes as one person was shot and killed by police on Monday morning.

The individual was killed as Tembisa residents continued with service delivery protests, which have been going on for over a week. On Monday, 1 August, community members shut down the township, which is situated in Johannesburg, using rocks and burning tyres.

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Source: Briefly News

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