The many illegal miners, commonly referred to as Zama Zamas that were caught in the Goldfields, Welkom area yesterday. Image: Supplied

101 illegal miners were arrested in the Goldfields, Welkom area yesterday. The police, who were continuing with their “Back to Basics” festive season operations which focuses on curbing illegal mining in the area, found the illegal miners around the streets of Welkom’s Industrial area.

Most of those arrested were Lesotho foreign nationals and will face charges of trespassing and there is a possibility more charges will be added.

Cluster commander of Welkom, Apathia Modise said “Our aim is to deal with some of the root causes of illegal mining.

We are fully aware that those who are starting the activities on the surface, will later graduate to illegally operate underground, hence we will from time to time clean the surface to discourage similar conducts.”

Part of why the operation was so largely successful is attributed to the many joint clusters that were deployed to the area where suspects were arrested.

The suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday, 19 December 2016.

Pulane Choane/BloemfonteinCourant