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The South African Police Service will establish a specialized force to combat illegal mining that’s robbing the nation of revenue and hampering operations at mineral companies.
The new security force will be a “multi-disciplinary unit” between the SAPS and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, the energy, minerals and resource minister told lawmakers in Cape Town on Thursday.
Illegal mining has long been a problem in South Africa. That’s now been coupled with thefts of equipment. The criminal activity affects vital infrastructure from railways to telecommunications to utilities, undermining President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to revive the economy. The thefts and illegal mining have become increasingly lucrative with prices of metals such as copper surging.
The illegal miners are the “foot soldiers of organized crime,” and their widespread use of derelict and abandoned mines was a ‘’war on the South African economy,” Mantashe said.
(By Paul Vecchiatto)