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Calls Mount To Overhaul Abandoned Mines As ‘SA Is Under Siege’

There are mounting calls for a total overhaul on how closed and abandoned mines are treated.

This is to prevent illegal miners from taking over such areas and a further loss of lives.

There have been two major incidents involving illegal miners. At least 31 people were killed underground at a closed mine near Welkom last month, and 17 others died due to a gas leak in Boksburg on Wednesday evening.

Such incidents are just the latest in many involving illegal miners with frequent accidents and explosions underground.

There have also been gun battles between rival illegal miners’ factions.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi visited Boksburg on Thursday and said there was much-needed change.

“And I’m calling for a new strategy – a strategy that is well-resourced as we are under siege,” he said.

But independent economic analyst Bongani Mahlangu said the required legislation existed – and just needed to be enforced.

“In SA [South Africa] we do have a legislative framework to get things done – but every time when politicians speak – they say we don’t have these things.”

He said issuing prospecting licences and enforcing the law were among the measures needed to stop illegal mining.

“Double down on security, rehabilitate these mines and ensure that there is proper cross border control movement.”

With illegal mining continuing unopposed in many areas – there are fears that there will be more loss of life.