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Preservation order obtained against illegal miners

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The Asset Forfeiture Unit in Kimberley obtained a preservation order against the properties of alleged illegal miners in Kleinzee, with an estimated value of over R960,000.

File picture: AP Photo, Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

THE ASSET Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in Kimberley obtained a preservation order against the properties of alleged illegal miners in Kleinzee, with an estimated value of over R960,000.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said the police confiscated various mining tools, including over 100 generators, jackhammers, spades and pickaxes, during a multidisciplinary raid in July 2022.

“The tools were deemed to be from the proceeds of illegal mining activities on the mining premises of a De Beers mine in Namaqualand,” said Senokoatsane.

“The raid followed complaints from the community about increasing levels of crime in their previously quiet and peaceful town. The community had 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 assault were becoming rife in the area, where 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 some of the 13 illegal miners who died in the area after a tunnel wall recently collapsed on them, had not been identified.

“It was impossible to inform their next of kin for their bodies to be repatriated to their countries of origin as they did not have any proper identification documents.

“Even though there was a horrific incident where several illegal miners lost their lives, this has not deterred other illegal miners from conducting further mining activities, as illegal mining is continuing in the area,” he added.

Senokoatsane stated that the De Beers Diamond Consortium of Mines, as the owners of the mine, had previously obtained an order through the Northern Cape High Court to ensure that the illegal miners vacated the premises.

“Most of the illegal miners ignored the said order and damaged the notice boards informing them of this court order.

“The mine 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.”

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