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Expand illegal mining investigations – security experts

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While President Cyril Ramaphosa heralded the establishment of specialised units to combat illegal mining and priority crimes during his January 8 statement in Mbombela, security experts called on him not to turn a blind eye to departmental incompetence foiling the units’ efforts from within.

Illegal mining is prolific in the Namaqualand region. File picture: Supplied

WHILE President Cyril Ramaphosa heralded the establishment of specialised units to combat illegal mining and priority crimes during his January 8 statement in Mbombela, security experts called on him not to turn a blind eye to departmental incompetence foiling the units’ efforts from within.

Ramaphosa, delivering the party’s January 8 statement at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday, highlighted how crime in the country was eroding the gains of freedom, and that it would require integration between the various crime-prevention agencies and judiciary to curb the scourge.

It was for this reason, Ramaphosa said, that the ANC welcomed the bolstering of the police service through the addition of 20,000 officers, the establishment of specialised units and work conducted through various law enforcement operations in recent months.

Even though crime experts welcomed the establishment of specialised units to combat illegal mining, some have called on him to start work with government departments as well.

Calvin Rafadi, forensic and crime expert, said that the move to establish a specialised unit to combat illegal mining was the right move to ensure the Prevention of Organised Crime Act was practical.

Rafadi said it was well established that illegal mining was linked to other crimes such as money laundering, bribery and corruption, illicit financial flows, human and weapons trafficking, and other forms of organised crime.

It was for this reason, he said, it was important for the unit to also investigate the Department of Mineral Resources, especially those that awarded and adjudicate mineral licences and permits, and the funds meant for the rehabilitation of abandoned mines.

Rafadi said this process would help to identify companies that did not properly comply with rehabilitation requirements and those responsible for illegal mining.

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