Illegal mining costs industry R5bn a year, says Cele

2010-10-21 14:52

Illegal mining activities cost the mining industry around R5 billion a year, National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele said today.

“It is broader than you think,” Cele told journalists after an underground excursion near Welkom.

Arriving in Welkom by helicopter just before noon, Cele was taken to the Masinong shaft, a Harmony mine, where he was briefed by mine staff.

Journalists were not allowed at the briefing and were prohibited by police and mine security from attending proceedings.

An hour later, Cele, dressed in white overalls, a miner’s hard hat and a belt with a lamp, said the visit was to “see himself” what was happening.

The police chief said the level of organisation in illegal mining activities was worrying.

“It’s organised, because by the time police get underground people know police are coming,” said Cele, adding that police members were part of the organised crime syndicates.

“It’s big.”

Cele said the time would come when police would start winning the battle against illegal mining and “reverse” the situation.

Police were also addressing the criminal activities at a national level while the matter was receiving attention within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“They do not sell [the gold dust] to spaza shops.”

The police chief praised the working relationship between police and mining companies in addressing the underground crimes.

“We cannot send in ordinary policemen to do the job, we use specialised units.”

A crime prevention operation at the mine before Cele’s visit unearthed two illegal miners and explosives.

Hawks spokesperson, Major-General Jacob Tsumane, told journalists the special task team appointed earlier to investigate illegal mining in the Free State Goldfield’s region was achieving successes but he did not give much detail.

He said many of the illegal miners were Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwean citizens, aged between 18 and 50.

“Many are trafficked into the Welkom area to work underground.”

Cele described his experience underground, believed to be around two kilometres deep, as “good” and acknowledged that a “Chile experience had hit his mind” on the way down.

Thirty-three Chilean miners made world headlines recently when they were rescued after they had been trapped for 64 days underground.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.