Parliament, Sunday, 18 September 2022 – The Portfolio Committees on Mineral Resources and Energy, on Police and on Home Affairs had an engagement yesterday with the provincial departments of Police, Home Affairs and Mineral Resources and Energy in Free State on illegal mining in the province.

The committees heard from the South African Police Service (SAPS) that between 2012 and 2022 more than 10 000 arrests with successful prosecutions for illegal mining in the province were made although this illegal business activity has a market that supplies commodities such as firearms, food and liquor.

The committees heard about the depth of illicit mining in the province and the manner in which it threatens legal mining operations. SAPS informed the committees and assured them that they have effective strategies that include Operation Knock-Out in place to fight illicit mining so long it is illegal in South Africa. They told the committees that illegal mining syndicates are also defending the survival of their business at all costs.

The leader of the delegation of committees and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Resources, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, said that the SAPS must be commended for their dedicated efforts in their fight against illegal mining and for the successful implementation of their Operation Knock-Out which led to the arrest of 4985 people from July 2019 to August 2022.

The committees heard that through the implementation of Operation Knock-Out R6.8 million worth of Gold Bearing Minerals has been recovered and SAPS have seized R4 million in cash, R2 million in food as well as vehicles and gold processing equipment.

The committees heard that the arrests of illegal foreign nationals is rendered unsuccessful as Section 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act was found to be unconstitutional. SAPS informed the committees that illegal immigrants who are arrested and those who serve jail terms are not deportable, but are released back into the community after they are issued with a notice to leave the Republic.

This committees said they will recommend that this Act must be reviewed urgently to address the challenge of illegal immigrants in South Africa. The committees also met with stakeholders in the mining industry. The stakeholders included Mining Affected Communities United in Action and Women Affected by Mining United in Action who called for legislation to address artisanal and small scale mining.

Mr Luzipo informed the stakeholders that as South Africans they have the right to participate in the regulation and policy making through public participation processes of Parliament.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES, ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, MR SAHLULELE LUZIPO

For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Ms Sureshinee Govender
Cell: 081 704 1109
Email: sugovender@parliament.gov.za