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‘Ekapa encroaching on our land’

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It is believed the stand-off occurred after miners claimed that Ekapa trucks were “impeding their work” as they (Ekapa) were encroaching on the miners’ land

TENSION: The police were yesterday called out to the R64 Boshof Road after Ekapa Mining security guards and artisanal miners clashed. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A TENSE stand-off between artisanal miners and Ekapa Mining security guards over land took place yesterday at the miners’ settlement in Samaria Road.

The miners are claiming that Ekapa is infringing on their permitted land that was allocated to them when they received their mining permits last year.

It is believed the stand-off occurred after miners claimed that Ekapa trucks were “impeding their work” as they (Ekapa) were encroaching on the miners’ land.

Tensions have been brewing since last week when miners burnt a tyre in protest against allegations that the chairperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mineworkers (KAMW), Lucky Seekoei, was selling “permits” that were issued by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) last year.

Seekoei, however, pointed out that only two permits were handed over in June last year by the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, with the applicants’ names who had applied to mine an area covering 500ha.

A spokesperson for the Samaria artisanal miners, William Diphane, claimed that the “permits” were issued free of charge, but that Seekoei was selling them for between R200 and R300 each.

Ekapa yesterday indicated that it would be commenting on the situation, but had not done so by the time of going to press.