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Miners close road

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The miners are demanding that the chairperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mineworkers 'comes and tells the truth'.

UNHAPPY: Unrest on the R64 Boshof road flared up again on Tuesday. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

UNREST on the Boshof road (R64) on the outskirts of Kimberley flared up again yesterday, with scores of artisanal miners demonstrating their anger by closing the road.

The miners used rocks to blockade the road, which were removed by the police later in the day. By late yesterday afternoon the road was clear, although miners were still demonstrating while a large police presence kept a watchful eye on them.

The miners are once again demanding that the chairperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mineworkers (KAMW), Lucky Seekoei, “comes and tells the truth”.

“We want to know what he has done with the Batho Pele permit which was issued to us in June last year. We also demand that he gives us our original papers back. Until he comes to address us, we will not move,” the spokesperson for the Samaria artisanal miners, William Diphane, said yesterday.

Diphane claimed that there were approximately 2 500 miners who were waiting for Seekoei to explain himself.

The miners are also claiming that Seekoei is closing the camps that were allocated to them and has given these back to the mine.

“Why is he scared? Why won’t he come and address us? What you are seeing right now is people who are hungry and who have no food,” Diphane said.

Seekoei yesterday denied the allegations.

“They’ve been saying all along that I have sold the land and the permits. This has not been proved. They have the power to go to a law enforcement agency and have me arrested. They have not done this. Why not?” he asked.

Seekoei said that the allegations against him were just a ruse. “All of this is fuelled by jealousy between buyers and runners. There is also a political force which is fuelling the miners’ anger. Everyone is trying to make a quick buck and instead of them going the legal route they are making use of illegal buyers and runners.”