More than 70 bodies of illegal miners, or Zama-Zamas as they are called, have been recovered from various disused mine shafts in the Welkom area of Free State Province.
Most of those killed are foreign nationals, mainly from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
A total of 73 illegal miners have been killed underground between March to November this year, according to the authorities while the police have also arrested more than 1,800 illegal miners in a nine-month period.
Those arrested were sent back to their respective countries after serving their jail sentences. The authorities are now linking the recruitment of illegal miners to human trafficking.
Welkom Police Spokesperson Stephen Thakeng said Tuesday: “We can confirm that these are two things that are connected because there are kingpins who are recruiting people from different neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Lesotho and it’s children under (legal) age that we find coming from underground.”
Police have sent a strong warning to the illegal miners and their bosses that the law is catching up with them.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK