BMA will be part of stopping illegal mining

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South Africa’s Border Management Authority (BMA), dubbed the country’s third armed service by President Cyril Ramaphosa, will be part of countering illegal mining in four provinces, a Parliamentary questioner was informed.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) National Assembly (NA) representative Liezl van der Merwe asked Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to elaborate on “counter-return operations of his department that are part of interventions to combat illegal mining”.

By way of a written reply, the parliamentarian was informed Cabinet’s Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, including the BMA, “has developed a strategy” to counter illegal mining.

Illegal mining in four provinces – Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo – is attributed to so-called “zama zamas”, which an IsiZulu translation has it as “those who try to get something from nothing”. Another has it the name is derived from the Zulu term “abazamayo”, meaning “those who try or strive (to achieve)”.

Van der Merwe was further informed, in reply to her asking about the difference between “traditional border patrol activities” and Department of Home Affairs (DHA) “counter-return operations”, these included “other law enforcement agencies”. Zama zamas reportedly include Basotho and Zimbabweans as well as South Africans.

Motsoaledi noted the JCPS cluster was “working on additional funding requests for counter-return operations”.