The Asset Forfeiture Unit in Kimberley attached the property of alleged illegal miners in Kleinzee, with an estimated value of more than R960,000, following a multi-disciplinary raid that was led by the SAPS.
THE ASSET Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in Kimberley attached the property of alleged illegal miners in Kleinzee, with an estimated value of more than R960,000, following a multi-disciplinary raid that was led by the SAPS.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said the assets were believed to be the proceeds of illegal mining activities conducted by the artisanal miners at the De Beers mine in Kleinzee, situated approximately 62 kilometres from Port Nolloth in Namaqualand.
“The SAPS, led by the office of the deputy provincial commissioner in Kimberley, conducted a raid where various mining tools, over 100 generators, jackhammers, spades and pick axes that were allegedly utilised for illegal mining activities were confiscated on July 6, 2022.
“The operation took place after communities complained about increasing levels of crime in their previously quiet and peaceful town. The community complained that ever since the illegal miners invaded their town, the level of crime had increased exponentially. Crimes such as theft, trespassing, armed robbery and assaults, to name a few, were becoming rife in the area, and 99 percent of these crimes were committed by the illegal miners. Reports also indicated that most of these undocumented illegal miners come from as far as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.”
Senokoatsane added that a recent incident where 13 illegal miners were killed in the area after a wall collapsed on them, had not deterred illegal mining from mushrooming in Namaqualand.
“Some of them are still unidentified as they have no proper identification documents for their families to be informed and for the bodies to be repatriated to their countries of origin.”
Senokoatsane indicated that the owners of the mine – the De Beers Diamond Consortium of Mines, had previously sought intervention from the Northern Cape High Court in its quest to evict illegal miners from its mine.
“The court granted an order that the illegal miners must vacate the premises. Most of the illegal miners ignored the said order and in the process damaged the notice boards informing them of this court order. The mine owned by the mining company was closed almost 13 years ago, and according to previous reports made by De Beers representatives, the reason they suspended mining activities was because it was too expensive for the company to continue mining in the area,” Senokoatsane stated.