Police must stop their harassment, violence and criminal activity against Zamazama’s in Langlaagte
26 November 2019
In recent months there have been numerous reports received of police brutality meted against artisanal miners (otherwise known as Zamazamas) operating in the Langlaagte area. In response to these reports, support organisations such as the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Benchmarks Foundation have visited the area on a number of occasions and are working in collaboration with CSOs such as ILRIG, the SA Human Rights Commission and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) to further investigate the reports and provide support to the Zamazamas.
Every time that visits have been made to Langlaagte, acts of police brutality, intimidation, assault and general criminality have taken place in our presence or just as we were leaving the area. To make things worse, in carrying out their illegal acts, SAPS members do not wear name tags/badges, thus concealing their identity.
In the latest incident (on 21st November), a group of miners were assaulted and robbed of cash by the police. One of the miners who was beaten was seriously injured had to be taken (by the support organisations) to Helen Joseph Hospital for assessment and treatment.
This was not an isolated incident. Members of Langlaagte SAPS (mostly junior officers) have literally been camping at the George Harrison Park which is adjacent to the abandoned mines. The purpose of this presence has now become all too clear - to regularly rob or extort money from any person whom they find in the park whether such person is an artisan miner or someone they suspect of being one.