Illicit mining giving rise to parallel economy, Parliament told

Ebrahim Kadwa of the Hawks’ organised crime unit briefed MPs. Chrome is being illegally extracted in Limpopo, while sand mining is surging in the EC, KZN, Limpopo & GP.

FILE: A Zama Zama (illegal miner) pulls an injured miner, whose hand is seen at left, out the entrance disused Langlaagte gold mine shaft entrance on 11 September 2016 in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has heard illicit mining is giving rise to a parallel economy. In the Free State, houses are being rented and a food supply network is thriving to support syndicates involved in the practice.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have been told most illegal miners arrested this year were foreigners from Southern African countries.

It's no longer only gold that “zama zamas” are after.

Chrome is being illegally extracted in Limpopo, while sand mining is surging in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng.

Ebrahim Kadwa of the Hawks’ organised crime unit has briefed MPs on the problem.

“This one is a bread and butter issue where you find the gogos and children that were basically among the bigger picture.”

Kadwa says illegal migration is also exacerbating illicit mining.

Between January and May this year, 42 people were arrested and 26 trucks and 14 excavators were seized in connection with the illegal mining of chrome in Limpopo.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)