Government must act quickly to save Embalenhle and Evander residents from armed illegal miners

Tim Denny,

DA councillor at Govan Mbeki local municipality:

The DA in Govern Mbeki is concerned about the increasing activities of illegal miners in the municipality, as it exposes residents of Embalenhle and Evander to harm’s way.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, two rival gangs of illegal miners, clashed and exchanged gun-fire near the Evander gold mines. The incident left six people dead and nine injured.

According to unconfirmed reports, it is suspected that all the injured men seem to be Lesotho nationals.

At the time of the gun-fire, residents of the near-by township of Embalenhle, said they heard something that sounded like a small war going-on at the old mined out Evander gold mine.

It is well known, by the community of Embalenhle that every morning, up to 50 individuals walk openly with their tools from the township to the Evander gold mine, where they illegally mine gold dust/ore.

Information given to the Democratic Alliance (DA) is that many of the illegal miners are very well armed, some with automatic weapons, which makes them extremely dangerous to locals and mine securities, or anyone who stands in their way.

The situation is now on a “knife edge’’ with immediate intervention needed by not only local police, but our army forces as well. It is just a matter of time before innocent residents are caught-up in the cross-fire and killed.

The DA calls on the minister of safety and security to intervene and assist our local police in not only apprehending all illegal miners, but to also assist the local mining company in securing their properties.