The Benchmark Foundation called on the government to urgently start engaging stakeholders in the inspection of small-scale and unused mines to control illegal activities.
This follows the arrest of 97 suspected illegal miners in Heidelberg, Gauteng on Monday.
A national multidisciplinary team arrested the suspects, aged between 18 and 35, as well as an elderly farm owner, during a crackdown on illegal mining activities.
All the suspects will soon appear before the Heidelberg Magistrate’s Court on charges of illegal mining, human trafficking, violation of immigration laws and illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
The foundation’s lead researcher, David van Wyk, says: “They should do an audit of the small mines in South Africa. They really need to create the conditions in which small-scale mining can operate legally and they need to organize people into cooperatives or some kind of business entity. They should also set up a central buying agency to buy all the gold so that the illegal miners stop being part of the gold syndicate.
The video below tells about illegal mining: