WATCH: KZN premier fears Ladysmith 'diamond rush' could be a super-spreader event
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DURBAN - The KZN government has expressed concern, following viral videos and images, over people flocking to the KwaZulu-Natal town of Ladysmith in search of diamonds - while flouting Covid-19 safety protocols.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said it was concerning that in the wake of the looming third wave, there were so many gathered at one spot, not maintaining social distancing and not wearing masks.
“This could prove to be a super-spreader and might put at risk many people, including those who are not part of the mining,” Zikalala said.
He added that another concern was the possibility of a stampede at the site in KwaHlathi.
He said there were people coming from neighbouring provinces and towns and, if not brought under control, this could result in chaos and a possible stampede.
“We call for order and calm and urge those involved to cease their operations and vacate the site to allow for the Department of Minerals and Energy to inspect the site.”
At the weekend, apparent illegal miners in the area stumbled across clear stones resembling diamonds while digging at mining sites.
The Department of Minerals and Energy has promised to dispatch teams to the site. These teams include the department’s enforcement and compliance unit to conduct an inspection of the site.
There will also be a team from Mintek (the Council for Mineral Technology) and GCS (the Council for Geoscience). The Mintek and GCS teams will include a geologist and will focus on establishing what items exactly have been discovered at KwaHlathi.