“Honourable House Chairperson,
As we consider this report, the ACDP asserts that our nation cannot be allowed to become one of illegalities. We have illegal electricity and water connections, illegal drug and gun smuggling, and illegal mining on the rise.
This joint oversight report, lays bare the gruesome, graphic and at times grotesque nature of illegal mining in South Africa. Our gold, platinum, chrome, coal, sand and other precious minerals, mined illegally, largely by foreign nationals, leave our shores at great cost to the social fabric of our communities, our economy and environment. Many communities in the vicinity of illegal mining have to endure a number of criminal activities, including mass shootings and killings; gang/mass rapes; tampering with infrastructure, including the theft of copper cables and illegal electricity connections.
Honourable House Chairperson, the ACDP would like to remind this House of the immense economic hardships many of our law-abiding citizens have to face, particularly with rising inflation and the Reserve Bank’s blunt tool response of increasing interest rates. The mining sector, with some $3 trillion of untapped mineral reserves, if properly managed, can be used to greatly reduce, unemployment, poverty, and inequality in South Africa.
Two of the causative factors of illegal mining is that there are over 6100 abandoned mines in South Africa and many others lying idle while under business rescue. A third, yet telling factor, are the legislative gaps, such as section 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act, which allow magistrates to release arrested illegal miners, back into the communities. The allegation is that some Magistrates are colluding with syndicates, or fear the syndicates, and hence tend to use this section to release the arrested foreign national. If this, and other legislation, is not properly amended, it will render the SAPS’s Five Pillar Approach to mitigate this crisis, useless.
The ACDP, in supporting this report, calls for the speedy implementation of the recommendations, failing in which, the oversight visits of the relevant portfolio committees will amount to nothing other than more fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and more suffering in the related communities.”