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79 suspects arrested in Riverlea illegal mining operation, 4 in Fochville


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The recent arrest of 69 Basotho nationals in Riverlea, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, has highlighted the importance of upholding the rule of law, particularly with regards to illegal activities, such as illegal mining. During the arrest, police seized an AK-47 rifle with “a lot” of ammunition and four handguns also with an assortment of ammunition. These arrests were made for being undocumented, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, possession of suspected stolen property and common assault.

Along with the firearms found, police seized explosives, gas cylinders, gold-bearing sand and alcohol from an illegal shebeen. The discovery of the bodies of five suspected illegal miners in Riverlea and the neighbouring Zamimpilo informal settlement led to protests within the area. Police have since linked the killings to a shoot-out between two rival groups of illegal miners.

Muridili, a police spokesperson, has promised that the police operations will continue “until Riverlea’s illegal mining activities have been stabilised”. It is encouraging to see the police taking such an approach to illegal activities in this area. Such strong measures are certainly needed in order to end the problem of illegal mining, which so often takes place in impoverished communities.

The authorities have provided an example of what can be done when the laws are enforced in these areas. It is a reminder to governments that illegal activities such as illegal mining should not be tolerated, and that the rule of law is the foundation upon which effective social stability and economic growth can be built.

These arrests are a strong reminder of the need for further preventative measures taken to ensure the safety and security of citizens in South Africa. By taking decisive action with regards to illegal activities, police are able to enforce the law and promote the safety and security of citizens

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