Illegal miners in Roodepoort will not back down, according to residents at Amatholesville, who looked on as police shut down several illegal gold refineries in the informal settlement.
A team comprising the Hawks, the SAPS, immigration officers and City of Joburg officials conducted the second operation in a series of raids in a bid to crack down on illegal mining in Johannesburg.
Yesterday, at least 10 illegal miners were arrested on site, but unconfirmed reports indicated that several of them managed to flee from an unlocked immigration services van.
Residents who spoke to The Citizen said the raids would not stop the operations indefinitely.
“They can’t arrest them all and soon they will be back doing the same thing,” said a man who lives in the area.
He said the micro-industry was the lifeblood of many in the community, including women and children who started learning the trade from an early age.
While some residents of RDP houses in the area complained that the illegal water and electricity connections made by zama zamas in shacks affected them, many residents benefited from the trade.
A five-litre tin of crushed gold concentrate was worth R50 while a 20-litre drum fetched R200.
“Sometimes they can make R20 000 in a week,” a resident said. – firstname.lastname@example.org