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Electrician killed in shootout involving 150 Zamas at m...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Electrician killed in shootout involving 150 Zamas at moth-balled Sibanye gold mine: Video included

Sibanye's Driefontein Gold Mine

An electrician and Sibanye-Stillwater employee was shot and killed on Monday night in a shootout between Zama Zamas and mine security at the company’s moth-balled Cooke shafts near Randfontein. Security sources estimate that up to 150 armed men were involved in the attack, which may help explain allegations that when the police finally showed up they did nothing. 

The operation seems to have been well planned. The aim, based on intelligence reports in the community including the hoarding of food supplies, was to send hundreds of Zamas underground at the moth-balled Cooke gold operations on the West Rand. 

On Sunday night, power cables were cut in advance of the incursion, which would be backed up by a literal army of hired guns. 

But on Monday night, Sibanye — which is responsible for the mine — sent out a team under heavy guard to restore the power, sources with direct knowledge have told Business Maverick. That team came under fire from an estimated 150 heavily-armed Zamas. During the assault, which lasted for hours with sporadic shooting, the electrician was shot dead. 

“There were about 150 armed assailants — it was planned and they had stashed supplies,” one source said. Military-style weapons were involved in the attack. 

Another security source said it was unlikely that 150 armed men would be involved and that a couple dozen were likely backing up scores of Zamas who were planning to go underground.

Regardless, it is still a stark example of the brazen way that Zamas and the crime syndicates behind them operate. Western Gauteng is a hive of Zama activity and the police are seemingly powerless to do anything about it — another sign of a failing state. 

Business Maverick understands the police did show up to the shooting — two hours after being called — but “observed” at a safe distance and did nothing to intervene. Police did not immediately provide comment when asked, beyond acknowledging receipt of the query.

Among other things, the cops do seem to be outgunned.  

Business Maverick also understands that Sibanye has been trying for years to get closure certificates for the shafts from the DMRE but to no avail. Properly closing them down, which would include flooding the tunnels, would presumably keep the Zamas at bay. 

There is a bitter irony at play here as the nearly three-month strike at Sibanye’s gold operations that is set to end this week was a non-violent affair, in large part because of the united front presented by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). 

Monday’s audacious attack that has left a worker dead is a chilling reminder that union rivalry is far from the only source of violence and instability in South Africa’s mining sector. DM/BM


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All Comments 3

  • How the mighty SAPS has fallen.
    Neutralised by a handful of armed men?
    An electrician dies….no outrage??
    Seems to me that hurting one’s feelings or dignity solicits a far greater response than being shot whilst working. Mmmmm?

  • “Among other things, the cops do seem to be outgunned…”
    What a joke! The cops are not only outgunned, they have NO strategy at all, nothing. What you see is the direct result of that. With a SAPS bereft of competent leadership, no country & multi-sector crime strategy, corruption at every level too high for it not to have consequences, and severe lack of competence and capacity in general, equals this. It’s not rocket science…

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