“In Barberton, Mpumalanga, illegal diggers are now taking over equipment and workplaces. They are openly carrying a huge number of weapons, including AK47s and 9-mm pistols. Intergang fights and shootouts are now a daily occurrence in this area. Confrontations between illegal miners and the police and security personnel are becoming more frequent. In Welkom, booby traps using explosives have been set for the police and security personnel. Illicit mining is also spawning other illegal activities, including child prostitution and child labour,” highlighted Shabangu in her address to the National Council of Provinces on the occasion of the debate on illegal mining, in September.
Rival gangs are said to be fighting underground to mine the richest seams.
Human trafficking, and smuggling, money laundering, bribery and corruption are also identified as activities spawning from illegal mining.
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