The life of the zama zama – part three: Hunted by a crooked cop

Everson Luhanga

Part three of Life of Zama Zama. A seven-part series, originally published in May 2021, about those who have died as illegal miners, the horror stories of death underground and the survivors and families.

Lloyd Siwela lives in constant fear after he survived a shooting in which he could easily have lost his life. 

Lloyd and his friend were in Lloyd’s car when the shots were fired. Lloyd survived – his friend did not. And now he lives with the knowledge that his life may easily have ended that day.

At the time, the two men were trying to get away from a police officer who had been victimising them.

Lloyd had been tortured and kidnapped by the officer, known to all zama zamas in the Roodepoort and Florida areas as Magolide.

Magolide allegedly pepper-sprayed Lloyd, tied him up with cable ties, and left him in the bushes for the night. He was rescued by his friends the following morning.

Speaking to Scrolla.Africa, Lloyd said there are many examples of how Magolide had targeted him and his friends. 

He said in May 2020, Magolide pursued him in a car chase. The officer blocked his way and Lloyd hit and scratched the police’s state van on the left side. Three days later, the kidnapping took place. In September his friend was shot dead in his car by an unknown group while they were trying to get away from Magolide.

Scrolla.Africa spoke to several others who allege that the officer also targeted them.

According to zama zama James Khumalo, Magolide is a well-known member of the local Basotho gang.

“The Basotho gang members go to zama zamas and collect money. Magolide goes to the shafts almost every hour to collect money from the gang leaders to take his share,” he said.

Zama zama, Thulani Moyo said Magolide also collects money himself.

“If you don’t have the money, he assaults and pepper sprays you and takes your bags,” said Thulani. 

The corrupt police officer is now facing charges of kidnapping and a case of malicious damage to state property was opened against him after he failed to report the incident in which his state vehicle was damaged. 

He allegedly tried to paint over the scratch with a brush.


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