The Mineral Resources Department has granted thousands of small-scale miners who were operating illegally on the outskirts of Kimberley in the Northern Cape legal status in form of permits.
The miners, also known as Zama-zamas have been mining on dumps and mining floors in Kimberley and often clashed with police.
The permits come after the miners reached an agreement with Kimberley Ekapa Joint Mining Venture which is expected to give them access to one-thousand hectares of mining land.
“Today we can say yes, this door of mining has actually opened for the people of South Africa to actually reap the mineral wealth – because it is in the Freedom Charter that actually says that the people must share in the mineral wealth. We cannot have these policies and not actually implement them. By doing this it is clear that the freedom charter is being implemented,” said chairperson of the Kimberley Artisan Miners, Lucky Seekoei .
Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Deputy Minister, Godfrey Oliphant, has hailed the agreement as historic.
“Here we’ve got proof that we’re bringing the matter to an end in a very decent way. we have done certain things before, tried to solve problems but they were not as comprehensive as this one. so to me this is a benchmark that we can apply around the country that we should be able to be proud of to say these are the parameters set.”