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Illegal gold mining in South Africa

Author: Source: Date: 2017-10-16 10:09:33

Illegal gold mining in South Africa


Due to socio-economic problems such as growing unemployment and poverty rates in South Africa, there has been rise in illegal gold mining.

The Daily Sun recently released videos showing a little bit of the reality for these underground miners known as ‘zama zamas,’ which in Zulu loosely translates to “those who try to get something from nothing.”

The work is dangerous – due to explosives used in the mines to break the rocks, the zama zamas face potential mine collapse. Just this past May, the bodies of 25 illegal miners were found after a gas explosion in a mine near the town of Welkom. The zama zamas use pillars put in place by previous miners to try and balance the rocks to prevent these collapses.

This has forced operators to employ security guards at mine shaft entrances, meaning further division of already meagre profits made from the illegally mined precious metal.

Indeed, between necessary payments to the underground miners, the mine security guards, and the cops who allegedly visit the sites on a daily basis for a pay-off, the zama zamas earn a pittance for work that puts their lives at risk on a daily basis.