South Africa News

Suspected zama zamas abandon their bail bid in North West

A group of 85 alleged illegal miners, commonly known as ’zama zamas’, abandoned their bail application at the Orkney Magistrate’s Court, in North West, on Monday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in North West Henry Mamothame said their case was postponed to December 1 for investigation.

“Their status verification was completed and they are all in the country without legal documents. They will not be applying for bail and they have terminated the services of Legal Aid. They are now represented by a private attorney,” he said.

They are facing charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of gold, and theft and conspiracy to commit an offence.

Eighty-seven zama zamas were arrested on October 20, at Shaft 2 in Orkney, following an intelligence-driven operation, by a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement officers. The group allegedly opened fire on the team of officers when they arrived at the shaft.

Six suspected illegal miners were gunned down and eight others were wounded when police returned fire. From the eight suspects who were injured during the shootout, six have been discharged from the hospital and two were still under police guard in the hospital.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said, during the arrest, two minibusses, illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material, 11 illegal firearms, and bags of food were seized.

In June, bodies of 20 suspected zama zamas were found wrapped in plastic, in various locations in Orkney. The bodies had suffered severe body burns.

Police found piece of papers on some of the bodies, with names and phone numbers, which they believed would help them track relatives and identify the deceased.


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