An eager crowd greeted a task team dispatched by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to determine whether diamonds have indeed been discovered at KwaHlathi in KwaZulu-Natal.
Residents of the town outside Ladysmith recently believed they had struck proverbial gold after discovering diamonds.
The DMRE arrived at KwaHlathi to greet community members a short while ago armed with teams from Mintek and the Council for Geoscience.
Teams have brought their equipment to analyse and test whether diamonds were indeed discovered, or if they stumbled upon a heap of raw quartz, according to some on social media.
When people first descended on the “diamond”-rich area, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala called for calm, raising concerns that too many people in one place could result in a stampede.
Zikalala also said the sudden gathering of people means social distancing is likely not being maintained.
With the country beginning to experience a third wave of Covid-19 infections, the event could be a super-spreader, in turn putting people at risk who are not part of the mining chaos, he said.
An enterprising man accused of vehicle theft was arrested in Hlathi at the weekend. According to Colonel Thembeka Mbele, the Ekuvukeni visible policing officers were monitoring the area when they received information about a vehicle theft.
The police confronted the driver, who was trying to make a U-turn. A chase ensued and the driver of the bakkie abandoned the vehicle and tried to flee on foot but he was caught and arrested.
The vehicle was searched and a pistol with no serial number, a rifle and 16 .303 rounds of ammunition and 47 rounds of shotgun ammunition were recovered.
What is quartz worth?
Should KwaHlathi prove to be the scene of a quartz-rich, and not a diamond-rich find, quartz is still worth a few dollars.
Quartz gemstones are relatively common materials, with unusually coloured gems fetching a pretty penny.
Quartz is used in Swiss watches and is often used in electronic equipment.
If quartz crystals are found completely intact, they are worth more than those with cracks or fissures.