Illegal mining costs sector R5bn/year

2010-10-21 22:14
National police commissioner Bheki Cele addresses journalists in Welkom after going underground in the city's Masimong mine to investigate illegal mining. (Tom de Wet, Volksblad)

National police commissioner Bheki Cele addresses journalists in Welkom after going underground in the city's Masimong mine to investigate illegal mining. (Tom de Wet, Volksblad)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Welkom - Illegal mining activities cost the mining industry around R5bn a year, national police commissioner General Bheki Cele said on Thursday.

"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 mine hardhat and a belt with a lamp, said the visit was to "see (for) 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."

Reversing the situation

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 2km 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.

Read more on:    harmony  |  bheki cele  |  mining  |  human trafficking
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
SA road trips you’ll never forget

Fill the tank and head for the open road to see our beautiful country at your own pace.

/News
 

Must see! The most luxurious dog house!

This dog house comes with a treadmill and hot tub, you have to see it!

 
 

Luxury living

Exciting new luxury SUV arrives in SA!
WIN!
Ridiculous demands people with too much money make
8 of the priciest places to dock your yacht
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There are two ways of dealing with your day. The one is the tendency to juggle between your idealistic ideas and reality which...read more

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.