Residents of Benoni are gathering signatures for a petition to the government to prevent illegal miners from operating near their houses. They claim that so far 10,914 of the 20,000 persons who were expected to sign have done so.
Residents claim that mining operations are getting closer to their homes, putting their families at risk. They want the City of Ekurhuleni and Parliament’s portfolio committees on Mineral Resources and Energy, Police, Home Affairs, and Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries to intervene right away.
According to them, there are gunfights between opposing factions, dead bodies are routinely discovered near the mines, and explosives and underground hammering can be heard.
“Not only does illegal behavior have a significant impact on the environment, but it also damages infrastructure and assets, drives away business, and puts inhabitants’ lives and health at danger,” according to the petition.
Ward councillors in the neighborhood claim they’ve been fighting the problem for years. They accuse local law enforcement and police of neglecting to secure the mines and failing to respond to citizen tips.
Local communities recognize that closing down illicit mining operations will hurt zama zama miners and their families, but they want their safety safeguarded, according to Ward 27 Councillor Lornette Joseph. “Every day, residents in several places report hearing explosives.” They have zama zamas functioning near their dwellings, causing significant environmental damage. Illegal mining must be addressed by the government.”
An unnamed miner who requested that we only identify to him as Rabie revealed that he has been mining for more than ten years to support his family. “Now I’m a [gold] dealer… They will make life difficult for us if they cease mining, and crime will rise as a result.