Hired excavator used for illegal mining

Daar word van groot masjinerie gebruik gemaak om die grond om te dolwe by Plastic City.

According to EMPD spokesperson Chief Supt Wilfred Kgasago, officers arrived and found four men, including the operator of the excavator, digging large holes within the settlement.

The excavation site is close to the road and no attempt had been made to conceal the illegal activity.

It is believed the digging has been taking place for at least two weeks.

“The excavator was confiscated and all four men, who are South Africans residing in Brakpan and suspected of illegal mining, had their personal particulars taken and later released on a warning,” said Kgasago.

“The suspects, all in their mid-fifties, claimed they had hired the excavator from an individual whose particulars were provided to the metro police.

“The confiscated excavator was taken to the EMPD pound.”

The DA ward councillor for the area, Brandon Pretorius, described the illegal miners’ actions as arrogant.

“After receiving complaints of illegal operations yet again at Plastic City, myself along with other municipal officials visited the site and immediately noted the obvious illegal mining taking place within and around the settlement,” he said.

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“The illegal mining has always been an issue but has for the past two weeks become somewhat arrogant.

“This poses a huge threat as this now could affect the road infrastructure.

“The road has previously collapsed due to illegal mining.”

Pretorius told the Herald he is thankful, however, that the municipality acted swiftly to halt the digging.

“I do believe this sends a clear message and I will encourage the community to keep on informing the municipality about illegal activities,” he said.

One of several gaping holes dug by the illegal miners using the excavator. Brandon Pretorius is the ward councillor for the area.

The councillor was less optimistic about the overall situation at the informal settlement.

“After the Mayoral Siyaqhuba campaign held in Brakpan on April 6, I was disappointed that the feedback with regards to Plastic City stayed the same,” he said.

“Despite the area being a health hazard to the surrounding community, it also directly affects the lives of the community living within Plastic City, especially young children who are exposed to the pollution on a daily basis.

“Upon mentioning these concerns to the mayor, including all the illegal activities taking place, the response received by the relevant departments was very disappointing indeed.

“It seems as if the municipality has no intention or the know-how to deal with the area and that the status will remain the same.”

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Stacy Slatter
News Editor

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