Army to combat illegal mining in Free State

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PHOTO: OFM

“The death of 31 illegal miners inside a methane-filled ventilation shaft 5 at Virginia made headlines and raised eyebrows about illegal mining challenges in our country.”

More than 500 hundred SANDF troops will be deployed to deal with illicit miners in the Free State Goldfields.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this in Welkom last week during his second visit to the Free State. At least 595 soldiers will be deployed in the Lejweleputswa District to clamp down on illicit mining operations and arrest the so-called zama-zamas.

President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving at the Presidential Imbizo in Welkom. PHOTO: Facebook

The death of 31 illegal miners inside a methane-filled ventilation Shaft 5 in Virginia made headlines and raised eyebrows about illegal mining challenges in our country in July. The miners were believed to be Basotho nationals.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, visited the area shortly after the incident and raised concerns over closed mines of which illegal miners are taking advantage.

Earlier this year, Matjhabeng Mayor Thanduxolo Khalipha blamed zama-zamas for the dilapidated infrastructure system which resulted in sewage challenges. He promised to beef up security in and around Matjhabeng to protect infrastructure projects which the municipality had planned in January 2023.

OFM News/Kekeletso Mosebetsi