Surface mining industry association ASPASA has called on its members to report all incidents of extortion so that the industry and law enforcers can access data that will enable them to track and hopefully eradicate the practice. The association has compiled a quick-to-complete form that can be used by mine managers to record incidents that have been reported to the police, as well as those which police have recorded as “intimidation” cases rather than extortion.
In all instances the information will be shared with the Minerals Council, of which the association is a long-serving member. The council has been invited to be part of a National Priority Committee for Extortion and Violence at Economic Sites which will call upon specialised units of the SA Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority to deal with the crimes.
According to ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, the key objective of the priority committee is to enable a substantial reduction in extortion and violence at economic sites through the sharing of information. This includes the identification of challenges and solutions, sharing of resources and expertise, as well as identifying processes and technologies to assist and align private sector initiatives against this crime type.
The priority committee will have monthly meetings and be chaired by the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation with the NPA standing in if the appointed chairperson is not available. It is envisaged that private stakeholders provide feedback on a monthly basis on all extortion and violence incidents encountered by their respective members.
The SAPS and NPA should provide feedback on the cases registered and the progress made with the processing and prosecution of the cases in line with the requirements of the mentioned objectives.
“We need to act decisively against this type of crime and by sharing information we are giving law enforcers the tools they need to profile cases and identify trends and patterns as they emerge. Members are also encouraged to record the incident on the Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) web portal. BACSA has advised that there is an information sharing function on their Eyes and Ears (E2) Portal https:\\e2.bac.org.za to record unlawful incidents.
“In many instances our surface miners are exposed to the mining and the construction mafia, which leaves them more vulnerable than others in the sector. It is therefore critical that we stand together, share information and resources, and beat this scourge before it takes a firmer root,” concludes Nico.