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DA proposes reopening NC diamond mines to solve unemployment

Ricky Bock and his fellow delvers are in favour of the DA’s idea to reopen the mines and help them earn a legitimate living and he’s planning to vote for that promise come 8 May.

The town of Springbok in the Northern Cape. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

NAMAQUALAND - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is proposing reopening Northern Cape diamond mines to deal with the grinding problem of unemployment in the area.

The province is one of the areas where the party is hoping to unseat the African National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming elections.

It’s an audacious goal considering the ANC won 64% of the vote in the province in the 2014 elections but the DA is hoping that voters will give them a shot to fix the problems that plague the region.

The DA’s mining plan in Namaqualand seems to be landing on fertile soil with some sectors of the community.

Heaps of dug-up ground are all that remain of the mining operations on Kleinzee erf 654.

De Beers dug for diamonds in this area and when, in 2009, they stopped operations, illegal miners or delvers moved in.

Ricky Bock (48) from Carolusberg is one of them.

WATCH: Springbok's illegal diamond miners

Bock had given up finding a job in the economically depressed province and found the risk of illegal mining was worth the money.

“We got good money. Later we went to Sanddrif; there we got a 6.9 (carat) stone of which we got R300,000 between the five of us and divided it.”

De Beers has retained the mineral rights to the land, so Bock and his fellow delvers are firmly on the wrong side of the law. The company obtained an eviction order against them.

But Bock said he has no other option but to risk his life and freedom by searching for diamonds.

“Unemployment is a huge thing in Namaqualand. The time we delved, crime was also low, like theft, because most guys who committed these crimes were involved with the delving. But now they’re back here where they were.”

Bock and his fellow delvers are in favour of the DA’s idea to reopen the mines and help them earn a legitimate living and he’s planning to vote for that promise come 8 May.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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