The Star 09 January 2019
Police have arrested six foreign nationals believed to be responsible for the murders of several illegal miners in Ekurhuleni.
The men, believed to be illegal miners themselves, were shooting at each other when police surrounded and later arrested them.
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, said they also confiscated five unlicensed firearms, a revolver and four pistols.
Dlamini said the arrest and seizure came after police responded to a complaint of a shooting between two rival groups of illegal miners in Actonville on Tuesday afternoon.
When they arrived at the scene, one illegal miner had already been injured and was taken to the Far East Rand hospital. He is under police guard, he said.
“As police surrounded them, five handguns used during the gun battle were seized.,” Dlamini said.
“Further investigations are being conducted as the gangs might have been responsible for several murders of illegal miners and house robberies in Benoni, Springs and Actonville.”
The men have been charged with attempted murder, the possession of unlicensed firearms as well as illegal mining. They were expected to appear at the Benoni Magistrate Court on Thursday. He said they were all foreign nationals.
“As police continue to deal with illegal mining, it is believed that the firearms confiscated are used by the rival gangs to attack each other. In January 2018, the bodies of suspected illegal miners were found dumped in an open veld in Benoni. They were all shot and killed. Police are still continuing with investigation and the firearms seized this week will be taken for forensic examination to determine if they may be linked to the murders,” Dlamini said.
There have been numerous bloody turf wars among illegal miners in Gauteng, with Ekurhuleni always having the worst of them.
In one of the most devastating gun battles between gangs, 15 miners were killed when the Basotho zama zamas clashed at the Grootvlei Aurora mine in Springs in September 2015.