Fresh attacks target illegal miners in South Africa

6. Miners
Mohlakeng community members burn belongings of suspected illegal miners at a Mohlakeng Hostel, near Randfontein, on August 8, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

MOHLAKENG, South Africa  — South Africans angered by crimes blamed on illegal miners carried out a fresh protest on Monday and assaulted several workers’ hostels, AFP reporters saw.اضافة اعلان

More than 300 people gathered in the mining town of Mohlakeng, around 40km from Johannesburg, they reported.

Around 50 of them, armed with machetes and hammers, entered three hostels, hauling out mattresses, rugs, chairs, and wardrobes which they set ablaze.

They then sang an old protest song, meaning “Bring out the fire brigade, it’s burning here,” while some drank beer.

Several police cars arrived in the afternoon, and tension fell after talks between demonstrators and law enforcement.

Informal miners, commonly known as “zama zamas”, are mainly foreigners who come to South Africa to try to earn money from clandestine pits, living and working in arduous conditions.

Anger against them flared after eight women were raped on July 28 by gunmen who forced their way into a music video shoot near Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

On August 4, thousands of protestors hunted down miners in Kagiso township, sealing makeshift shafts and burning houses.

The Johannesburg region is dotted with slag heaps, shafts, and deep trenches left by generations of miners, whose arrival in a gold rush in the 1880s led to the birth of the city.

Access to these old workings is controlled by gangs of zama zamas.

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