The Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources, James Lorimer, says that very little progress has been made by government officials in combating the so-called illegal mining.
“The overall response to illegal mining has been revealed to be grossly inadequate, for which the blame must lie with the lack of leadership from cabinet level,” Lorimer stated.
Over the past few days government officials have been reporting back to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on progress they have made in tackling the problem.
Earlier in August, National Police Minister, Bheki Cele revisited Riverlea in the West of Johannesburg to update the community on the police’s response to the illicit activities that had left many community members living in fear.
Joined by South African Police Service (SAPS) management from both national and the Gauteng province, Cele engaged the residents of Riverlea and surrounding areas in an effort to solve the mining issue and to find lasting solutions to stabilise the area.
The police minister assured the affected residents that a lasting solution was on the horizon.
However, the DA Shadow Minister insists that there have been months of inaction which could have been addressed by committed leadership.
“There has been no such leadership and illegal miners have consequently benefitted from little interference with their operations which the Minerals Council reckons costs South Africa R7 billion in economic loss every year. Illegal miners could ask for no better gift than the continued stewardship by these two [Cele and Mantashe] ministers,” he said.
Lorimer added that the DA has long advocated for the establishment of a specialised police unit that works intimately with prosecutors and officials of the DMRE.
“Such a unit should be given the resources and firepower to end this scourge,” he said.