Ekurhuleni: Bodies of suspected zama-zamas discovered in mining hole

Ekurhuleni: Bodies of suspected zama-zamas discovered in mining hole

The bodies of more than a dozen persons were discovered within a mining hole at Homestead in Primrose, Germiston, east of Johannesburg, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

For the time being, police believe the bodies are those of illegal miners who perished after being stuck inside the mine. When police originally addressed the incident, they stated that eight bodies had been located and removed, with numerous more yet to be discovered.

“On 17 March 2022, the police were informed of alleged illegal miners who were trapped in the mine hole. Eight unidentified bodies were retrieved while it is suspected that there may still be more bodies trapped in the mine hole,” said Gauteng SAPS’ Colonel Dimakatso Sello in a brief statement at the time.


Sello than said in an updated statement that seven remaining bodies were retrieved on Saturday, 19 March 2022, bringing the number of suspected illegal miners who died to at least 15.

It isn’t clear exactly how the suspected zama zamas died. It comes just months after it was reported that several bodies of suspected illegal miners were discovered in different parts of Makause informal settlement, which is also in Germiston. In the recent years, parts of Ekurhuleni have seen warring factions of illegal miners shooting and killing each other.

In October 2021, the Hawks shot dead at least six suspected illegal miners during an intelligence-driven operation in Orkney, North West. They arrested at least 87 other suspects during that operation. The team seized two taxis, illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material and 11 illegal firearms, including three shotguns, three rifles, four pistols and a single revolver, along with bags of food.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced recently that they are setting up a special unit in the SAPS to deal with crime in the mining sector, where illegal mining by zama zamas is taking over and causing much disruption.

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