Spate of murders blamed on illegal mining

10 September 2015 - 02:10 By Graeme Hosken

Heavily armed police have been deployed following the murders of 15 illegal miners in 72 hours in what appears to be a turf war on the East Rand. The bodies of two miners were found on Monday night close to shaft four of the Grootvlei gold mine in Springs.A day later the bullet-riddled and bludgeoned bodies of 10 more miners were found, and three were discovered in the early hours of yesterday.The violence, say mining experts, is part of the growing problem of illegal mining, which the government and the mining industry seem incapable of dealing with.Wits University professor Robert Thornton, who has researched illegal mining, said the government and the mining industry had no control over the activity."This is something that has become rampant, with the violence worsening as more and more people turn to illegal mining for dwindling resources. With this comes exploitation by criminal gangs, who are driving the violence."Gauteng police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said none of the victims or killers had been identified. No arrests have been made."The motive is believed to be illegal mining. The victims were all shot repeatedly, and several were severely beaten."Mofokeng said the police had been alerted to the killings by the community.

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