COSATU is alarmed by the intensity of violent armed conflict between organised groups of illegal miners
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is concerned by the deteriorating situation and the intensity of violent armed conflict between organised groups of illegal miners in many areas of the country, where illegal mining is taking place. The reports of gang violence and of armed gangs shooting at the police should send the alarm bells ringing to our authorities. The federation has repeatedly called for action to from our government to deal with this unremitting deaths of artisanal miners all across the country.
The failure by government to deal with this scourge of illegal mining has emboldened the gangs operating these disused mines and has allowed gangster capitalism to thrive. It is worrying for us that nothing has been done about this despite a 2009 South African Human Rights Commission report that revealed that these illegal miners were under the control of criminal syndicates. What makes matters worse is that the report also showed that these syndicates were working with the so called legitimate companies to exploit these vulnerable workers.
Government programmes to regulate and manage mine closures have not yielded the desired results. We still see many mines being abandoned, with mine shafts left open, resulting in the development of contaminated mine water. Our government needs to do more to monitor the implementation of the current financial assurance policies that are meant to help with the rehabilitation of closed mines.
The mechanisation of the mining sector has also left many workers stranded and with no other means of earning a living. This speak to our concern that technological innovations that imposed with no regard for local economies and cultures, bring misery to those who are pushed aside by such developments
COSATU strongly believes that this matter will never be fully resolved as long as there is no appetite by our government to take strategic control of strategic commodities such as gold, platinum and steel.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794