Free State police have arrested 16 illegal miners from Eland shaft mine Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe of Harmony in Welkom.
Spokesperson Stephen Thakeng says most of the illegal miners are foreign nationals, comprising 12 Zimbabweans and 4 Lesotho nationals. Police believe they’re winning the war on illegal miners on the goldfields area.
The sixteen illegal miners will appear at Welkom Magistrate Court on Monday. According to Thakeng, other miners are charged with street mining, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of food or items suspected to be meant for illegal miners underground, that amounts to millions of Rand.
“Thus far, 1405 illegal miners have been arrested since from March this year for trespass, illegal Immigration and attempted theft of gold bearing material, 60 died thus far and mostly they are Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe nationals. 60 cases of Inquest has been registered with regards to illegal miners who died underground. Mostly, they are been found guilty and sentenced as follows, from three months to three years in jail with options of fines from R1500 up to R20 000. We would like to discourage people from been involved in illicit mining because you will be arrested and secondly lot of people are dying while underground, because since from March this year sixty  zamas died. Lastly, we would like to applaud residents of Goldfields for information they give to us which mostly led to quite a number of these arrests and seizures of zama-zamas food which promote illicit mining. We will tracking down on illegal mining in the Goldfields area.”
Thakeng thanked Matjhabeng residents for always informing police with informing about illegal miners.