Government needs to act as mine crime spins out of control

Issued by James Lorimer MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources
09 Jun 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by James Lorimer MP, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources.

The shooting dead of a mine electrician on the west Rand is yet another reminder that the ANC government has lost control of illegal mining.

The electrician was part of a team from Sibanye-Stillwater sent to repair electrical infrastructure that was deliberately damaged by a gang of armed illegal miners estimated to number some 150 people. The gang opened fire and the electrician was killed in the shooting that resulted.

Two police cars were on the scene during the firefight, but made no move to intervene.

This underlines the threat posed by illegal mining in various forms, which is estimated to cost the country R40 billion a year. It is a huge disincentive to investment in mining which remains constrained when it could be expanding and providing thousands more jobs.

The DA repeats its call for a specialized police agency to cope with illegal mining. It should be legally empowered to deal with tricky legal issues which are sometimes thrown up as barriers by illegal miners. It should also have the firepower to defeat the large armed gangs which enforce their will on the West Rand and in Reef mining settlements at Riverlea and in Benoni.

This needs to be underpinned by the introduction of legislation that will make illegal mining a crime. Too often the only charge that be brought against illegal miners is that of trespass.

Government’s continued failure to act will reinforce the accusation that is often made that the authorities don’t act more vigorously against it because senior government members are profiting from illegal mining and associated organised crime.