The bodies of two illegal miners trapped underground at Bogalatladi village outside Burgersfort in Limpopo are yet to be retrieved. According to community leader, Ephraim Kupa, the two illegal miners believed to be foreign nationals, were trapped after the illegal chrome mine caved-in about four weeks ago.
Kupa says the incident has not been reported to the police as the miners are not known to them.
Kupa, however, says illegal mining is continuing in their area.
“The illegal mining is still continuing and it’s difficult for us the community to stop it. We are calling on the president to intervene. We heard someone was hurt and fell into the pit and the matter was reported to the police but the police said they don’t want to intervene.”
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Meanwhile, Lesotho’s consulate in Klerksdorp in the North West, says concerted efforts must be made to end illegal mining in South Africa. There have been reports linking Lesotho nationals to illegal mining.
The consulate says a regional approach to curb illegal mining is needed in South Africa.
In 2021, over eighty people, amongst them many Lesotho nationals, were arrested for illegal mining. Another group of 21, was arrested in October 2022 in Stilfontein near Klerksdorp.
The two groups are facing charges related to illegal mining.
Lesotho Consulate’s Diranyane Thamae says, “It is not only a Lesotho issue, but also the issue that concerns different nations from different countries. So, I think to defeat this kind of criminal activity, it needs all the stakeholders to come together to see, maybe to come with an amicable solution.”
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Additional reporting by Itumeleng Kgajane