Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).
Durban - NEWCASTLE municipality spokesperson Dr Dumisani Thabethe said in 2010 a Cabinet task team had been set up to look into the issue of illegal mining and the impact it was having on the economy.

“At the time, the task team comprised officials from the Ministry of Mineral Resources, MEC and the mayors of Newcastle and Amajuba. In 2017, the task team was discontinued and a technical task team continued to operate under the leadership of the departments of Mineral Resources and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs,” he said.

Thabethe said the municipality needed to find funding to move the households that border the mine.

He said the municipality could not quantify how many people were involved in illegal mining. He added they were trying to create work opportunities for illegal miners.

Ward councillor Grace Mnguni said illegal mining had been taking place in Blaauwbosch for decades.

“Over the years, officials have visited the site and made numerous promises to residents. Each time, residents are told they will be moved and the site shut down. The illegal miners are told that a different place will be found for them to work but it is all a waiting game,” Mnguni said.

She said illegal miners were locked in a long battle with the municipality. Mnguni explained that the land belonged to the municipality.

“Residents are just holding on,” she said. 

The Mercury