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MEC Nkosi-Malobane: Illegal mining could cripple economy

Officials say it’s an organised crime involving people who are unemployed and desperate to earn a living and put food on the table.

FILE: An illegal miner at the Langlaagte mine. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng Community Safety Department says illegal mining is gaining momentum in the province and has the potential to cripple the country’s economy.

Illegal mining has been identified as a national threat which government is battling to curb.

Officials say it’s an organised crime involving people who are unemployed and desperate to earn a living and put food on the table.

MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane hosted a roundtable discussion with mine management owners researchers and police in Kempton Park on Tuesday to address the dangers of illegal mining.

The Gauteng Community Safety Department says one of the problems that contribute to illegal mining is the failure by the Mineral Resources Department to properly implement mining legislation.

The department’s senior researcher Arnold Phala says: “DMR is the custodian of mineral resources in the country. We believe that there’s no adequate action and the actions taken are not adequate in making sure that mining companies adhere to legislation.”

Nkosi-Malobane says illegal miners are becoming arrogant, knowing the law in South Africa around so-called zama zamas is not tough enough.

“I understand people are hungry but you can’t just come from anywhere, go into a mining shaft, be involved in illegal mining activity and be arrogant about it.”

The value of gold lost through this organised crime has been estimated at R5.6 billion per annum.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)