Mantashe and Cele are the zama zamas’ dream team

Issued by James Lorimer MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources
28 Aug 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by James Lorimer MP.

Over the past few days government officials have been reporting back to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy on progress they’ve made in combating illegal mining. They’ve made very little. The overall response to illegal mining has been revealed to be grossly inadequate, for which the blame must lie with the lack of leadership from cabinet level.

Fourteen months ago South Africans were shocked by the multiple rapes allegedly committed by illegal miners at Krugersdorp. Since then there have been investigations, promises and advice, and the arrests of some easily replaceable foot soldiers. Officials of both the Hawks and the DMRE have very little progress to show:

  • The building of police training, skills and capacity is reported to still be ongoing;
  • The identification of specialised police resources has still not been done;
  • The successful methods of a police operation against illegal mining in the Welkom area has not been replicated elsewhere;
  • Government agencies are still not collaborating adequately;
  • Disgraceful instances of judicial or prosecutorial collusion have not been addressed; and
  • The security services say they haven’t been given adequate budget to do the job.

All these months of inaction could have been addressed by committed leadership by ministers Cele and Mantashe. There has been no such leadership and illegal miners have consequently benefitted from little interference with their operations which the Minerals Council reckons costs South Africa R7 billion in economic loss every year. Illegal miners could ask for no better gift than the continued stewardship by these two ministers.

The DA has long advocated for the establishment of a permanent specialised police unit that works intimately with prosecutors and officials of the DMRE to give them access to the knowledge that would allow the successful apprehension and conviction of illegal miners and particularly the syndicate bosses who organise them. Such a unit should be given the resources and firepower to end this scourge.

Until that happens illegal mining will continue to be a profitable crime for its organisers and a blight on the lives of thousands of South Africans.

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