Cape Town - Authorities in southern KwaZulu-Natal have moved to prevent a stampede of people at a small village where it has been reported that gold has been found.
Thousands of people have flocked to the site in Mbuthumeni village, outside the town of Harding, in the hope of striking it rich after glittering yellow rocks were discovered during rock excavations.
Umuziwabantu Local Municipality Mayor Cllr Dixie Nciki said: "The local Inkosi (chief) of KwaMachi, Inkosi N. Machi first addressed the community about the dangers of mining the quarry and requested them to evacuate the site as it is dangerous for them to be there. As the Mayor as well, I’ve also visited the area several times to address the community on the safety issues, but we have noticed that the number of people descending to the area keeps on increasing each day."
Nciki said the municipality has engaged with the Ugu District Municipality and they have been working together with its disaster management team and the South African Police Services (Saps) to prevent villagers from visiting the sites as it is not safe.
"The disaster management team, together with SAPS, have used a barbwire to barricade the area until the results that indicate if the stones are gold or not are out. SAPS took the sampling of the stones to Pretoria for further investigation on Monday morning and we are still waiting for the results," Nciki said.
According to reports, villagers believe that the gold found there could change their lives, given the high levels of unemployment in the area.
The gold rush comes after construction workers digging for quarry stones meant for the paving of gravel roads last week discovered yellow, glittering rocks in the area that resembled gold.
Since Wednesday last week, locals have been digging for what they believe is gold.
"Furthermore, the municipality has also engaged the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Minerals about this story, seeking for their advice and intervention as well," Nciki added.
"I would also like to express my deepest concern on the issue of two community members who were injured yesterday while they were mining the quarry. The two men were rushed to the hospital and according to the reports that we received from the local hospital, St Andrews, they were admitted and are still being treated for the injuries sustained," added Nciki.
African News Agency/ANA