Illegal mining activity across Gauteng continues to increase. Recently, the bodies of 14 dead miners were found in Benoni – a shocking discovery to say the least.
It is my observation it has become glaringly obvious that our current Government does not seem to take the safety aspect of illegal mining seriously.
The people that suffer the most are the poorest of the poor who risk their lives in order to put a plate of food on the table for their families. These miners find themselves at the bottom of the supply chain, with criminal syndicates who run the illegal trade in gold and other precious metals benefiting the most.
It is sad when poor and vulnerable lives are reduced to nothing more than statistics.
Illegal mining invariably equates to the loss of lives. Poor health and safety, stolen equipment, exposure to lethal gases and rock falls are not the only life-threatening aspects to these miners.
Gang violence, robbery and prostitution have also claimed their victims, as this Government’s policies have systematically failed to deal with illegal mining activities. Most frightening is the involvement of well organised criminal syndicates. These gangs are heavily armed, well-resourced and are brazen in their actions.
Illegal mining also negatively impacts South Africa’s economy to the tune of R6 billion per annum.
If illegal mining is not dealt with soon it will result in MAJOR criminal activity and resultant gang wars will be almost impossible to prevent.
The safety of innocent community members living around these mines are compromised on a daily basis. Excuses from SAPS, who claim they are not able to deal with these criminal activities is simply not good enough.
|Michele Clarke MPL|
|DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety|
|060 558 8309|