55 illegal miners to appear in court on public violence

Police in the Northern Cape say the 55 illegal miners who have been arrested will appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court for public violence and malicious damage to property.

Hundreds of miners flocked to the Big Hole dumps and prevented Ekapa Mining trucks from entering. The group last week marched to the Premier’s office saying the Sol Plaatje Municipality was marginalising them on projects to rehabilitate mining dumps around the city.

Police spokesperson Dimakatso Mooi says the illegal miners pelted police with stones when they were trying to prevent them from storming the gates of a local mine.

Mooi says, “The police have arrested 55 illegal miners including two females for public violence and malicious damage to property after the group forcefully gained entry at the local mine in Kimberley.”

“It is alleged that the group went to the mine and gained entry through the fence which they cut open: they allegedly threw stones at the police when they tried to disperse them and further damaged the gate and nearby business premises,” added Mooi.

All the arrested will appear in court soon with the charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Meanwhile, in July, thousands of illegal miners invaded diamond-rich land near Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape. The miners say poverty drove them to the land, belonging to State-owned diamond company Alexkor. Alexkor leased the invaded land to contractors on a share scheme basis.