Kimberley - While a court order authorising the eviction of illegal miners from various sites belonging to Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (KEM-JV) is yet to be enforced, the Kimberley Artisanal Mine Workers (KAMW) is looking at expanding its operations and has set its sights on De Beers’ Rooifontein game farm just outside Kimberley.
Access to this property is one of the demands that will be listed in a memorandum that will be handed over when hundreds of informal miners march to the Kimberley police station on Wednesday morning.
The chairperson of the KAMW, Lucky Seekoei, said that they were expecting more than a thousand KAMW members to march to the police station in Phakamile Mabija Street, where they will hand over the memorandum listing their various grievances.
“There are a number of concerns that we have, which have still not been addressed, and we will be marching from our informal settlement, along Samaria Road, on Wednesday (tomorrow) to ensure that our grievances receive the necessary attention,” Seekoei said on Monday.
“Among others, Ekapa have approached the court to intervene and have applied for an order preventing us from entering and occupying the farm, Rooifontein."
“This game farm is located on the floors, were Ekapa don’t want us to mine, so they have made an application to keep us out."
“In this regard, a meeting was held at the wildlife club on Thursday, at Rooifontein, which was only attended by four people, with no public input, so we will not accept any resolutions that were taken there.”
According to Seekoei, illegal mining on various other sites in and around the city is continuing unabated despite a recent Constitutional Court decision to uphold a Northern Cape High Court eviction order, granted in favour of KEM-JV in January.
“Our operations continue as per usual,” he added. “So far, the eviction order has not been enforced so we are still mining as if nothing has changed.”
Spokesperson for KEM-JV, Gert Klopper, said that while there had been previous indications that the illegal miners intended to move onto the game farm, an erf not listed in the eviction order, he was unaware of any recent developments regarding the illegal occupation and access of this erf nor any legal steps to prevent such an occupation from taking place.
Klopper added that illegal mining operations were continuing on its premises as it was waiting for law enforcement to enforce the eviction order.
“It is up to the sheriff of the court and the SAPS to carry out the eviction, so we cannot say when the illegal miners will be removed from our property,” he said on Monday.
“For now, we are continuing as we have been, with security on site to make sure that our property and equipment are safe."
“I know that there have been plans for the miners to start working at Rooifontein but I’m not aware of any recent developments in this regard.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Northern Cape SAPS, Captain Sergio Kock, referred all queries regarding the eviction order to the Department of Justice, adding that police were keeping an eye on developments.
“No arrests have been made during the last week,” Kock said yesterday. “Police are monitoring the situation.”
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