Government has been unable to stop illegal mining activities at unused mineshafts, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
The party’s spokesperson on mineral resources, James Lorimer, said continued illegal mining fuelled allegations that government officials were involved in the mining criminal activities.
“To date, there has been suspiciously little official action to prevent illegal gold mining in Johannesburg. This will add fuel to allegations of top-level official involvement in gold mining syndicates. It is easy to see illegal gold mining activity in the area between Langlaagte and Roodepoort,” Lorimer said in a statement.
“I brought evidence of this to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee three years ago, and the following year the committee visited illegal mining sites. This was followed by the establishment of a task team involving the department of mineral resources, the SAPS, state intelligence and industry representatives. Despite all this involvement there’s been little apparent success in stopping illegal gold mining.”
It was not clear how many people were still trapped at a disused gold mine in Langlaagte, Johannesburg. On Sunday, rescue operations were suspended at a Langlaagte old gold mine in Johannesburg after a fire broke out deep inside the shaft, which has toxic levels of carbon dioxide.
Three illegal miners had been rescued on Sunday. Two of them were arrested, while a third was taken to hospital. Members of their families have been camping on the ground above the shaft since the rescue operation began.
It is alleged that an unconfirmed number of illegal miners entered the disused shaft last week, and when they failed to emerge. Sixteen more went down the next day to look for them. Some of those who emerged from the shaft on Monday reportedly fled the scene.
– African News Agency (ANA)