Police Minister Bheki Cele says reinforcements will be sent to West Village in Krugersdorp, Gauteng to help fight illegal miners accused of terrorising residents.
On Sunday, Cele, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and senior police officers visited the area for a community imbizo.
Residents claimed that armed gangs of illegal miners were terrorising them.
The community meeting came after a group of models filming a music video was assaulted and raped, allegedly by a gang of illegal miners.
Cele said he had ordered a “full SAPS clean-up in the West Rand”.
“No community must be prisoners of crime and ruthless criminals who act with impunity. Residents have the right to feel safe and to sleep at night. This is why the SAPS must be seen and must be felt, while the sealing off of mines is expedited by those responsible,” he said.
National police commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, vowed to send more officers to the mining area.
“We will respond through action, as the police. We will deploy the highly trained TRT (Tactical Response Team), NIU (National Intervention Unit), Special Task Force, and K9 teams to make sure we flush out all undesirable elements in this area. Whoever comes with fire will be met with fire,” he said.
Masemola asked for the community’s cooperation.
Residents had called for the army to be deployed in the area because they said the police were inadequately resourced and corrupt.
Cele said the request for the deployment of the army would be considered when the need arose.
“This process takes a long time. However, in the meantime, the police response to flush out zama zamas will continue and will be bolstered by reinforcements of these specialised units, who will be deployed while government works on a broader security plan to tackle the whole value chain of illicit mining and its beneficiaries,” he added.