The Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security Cluster disclosed that 329 individuals have been convicted for offenses related to illegal mining between April and August 2023. This announcement was made by Defence Minister Thandi Modise, alongside Police Minister Bheki Cele and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, during a media briefing in Pretoria on Friday.
The government’s intensified efforts to combat the rampant issue of illegal mining were at the forefront of the briefing, shedding light on the collaborative measures being taken by various ministries. President Cyril Ramaphosa, emphasizing the severity of the problem, called for inter-ministerial operations to address the spate of illegal mining in the country.
Minister Modise revealed that a staggering 4,000 individuals have been apprehended in connection with illegal mining activities, underlining the transnational nature of this criminal enterprise. Notably, approximately 2,700 of the accused are reported to be foreign nationals originating from various countries across the southern hemisphere of the African continent.
Highlighting the economic threat posed by illegal mining, Modise asserted the need for the government to engage with neighboring countries. She declared, “These arrests indicate the multinational nature of illegal mining. It must be clearly stated that anyone who comes into conflict with the laws of the Republic of South Africa shall be dealt with harshly according to our criminal justice system.”
In response to the ongoing challenges, the government is actively working on legislation to legitimize artisanal and small-scale mining, a move aimed at bringing a structured and legal framework to this sector. As the nation grapples with the complexities of illegal mining, these latest convictions mark a significant step in the collective efforts to curb this pervasive criminal activity.