Twist in Kimberley's ‘new diamond rush’

Crime & Courts
Kimberley - A warning has gone out of possible disruptive and destructive behaviour in Kimberley while thousands of illegal miners have also threatened to open a criminal case with the Hawks against Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (KEMJV) for allegedly mining without a licence.

According to information a meeting took place between members of Black First Land First (BLF), led by its president Andile Mngxitama, and the illegal miners, chaired by Lucky Seekoei, at the Samaria Camp in Kimberley last week, where Mngxitama allegedly encouraged the miners to continue their operations, despite the court judgments against them, as the land of South Africa belonged to them.

Although the BLF acknowledged receipt of the DFA’s media enquiry, the organisation did not respond. Seekoei, however, confirmed that the meeting did take place.

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The excavation of the floors behind the Kenilworth Cemetery continued after a court order demanding an end to their small-scale operation was handed down. Picture: Danie van der Lith/ANA PicturesPicture: Danie van der Lith/ANA Pictures

Illegal diamond mining continues unabated in and around Kimberley as hundreds of illegal miners remain defiant of court orders demanding an end to their small-scale operations.

Judgment was reserved in the Northern Cape High Court last week after the miners applied for leave to appeal against an eviction notice, obtained by the South African Sweden Housing Company recently, ordering them off the NPO’s premises.

There have been suggestions that the illegal miners halt the current haulage at Kenilworth and Buffalo Camp by stopping trucks, belonging to KEMJV, removing the drivers and torching their vehicles.

Threats were also made that the fence at Rooifontein would be removed to allow for an invasion of the land, while intentions to march on the offices of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and to lay criminal charges against KEMJV were also expressed.

Seekoei, the managing director of Tshepiso Diamond and Investment Trading, however, denied claims that the miners, who are currently processing the tailing mineral resources (TMRs) of the floors in and around the city, intended to invade land or destroy property.

“It’s simply not true that we intend to grab land for ourselves,” Seekoei said on Monday. “That is the mandate of the BLF movement .

“All we want is to mine the floors that we found ourselves. We do not want to take over the land but will continue to mine what is rightfully ours.”

While the recent court case was the latest attempt to put an end to the excavation of the floors by illegal miners, the miners are now planning to open a criminal case with the Hawks, against KEMJV, whom they are accusing of mining without a licence.

Picture: Danie van der Lith/ANA Pictures

Seekoei said that besides opening the case, the miners would once again embark on a mass demonstration and “display of solidarity among the men and women who spend hours sifting through the dirt in the hopes of earning enough to feed their families”.

“On Wednesday morning we will march to the offices of the provincial Department of Mineral Resources and demand the right to earn a living without fear of prosecution,” he emphasised.

“The DMR is insisting that we obtain permits in order to mine legally, but completely ignore the criminals from Ekapa, De Beers and other industry giants, who are also mining without the necessary permission.

“We will also march to the provincial offices of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) on Wednesday morning, supported by the BLF and the Mining Affected Community United in Action (Macua), to open a charge of mining without a licence against KEMJV.”

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