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Authorities seized equipment and made 18 arrests during a major crackdown on illegal mining activities in the town of Sabie on November 23.
The high-density operation was coordinated between local and provincial law enforcement, including the South African Police Service, Community Policing Forums, and private security companies.
Officials recovered mining explosives, drugs, generators, batteries, and other equipment often used for illegal small-scale gold mining. The 18 suspects arrested face charges like obstruction of justice, immigration violations, and trespassing.
“We will continue operations like this until we put an end to illegal mining that puts lives at risk,” said Lt. Gen. Semakaleng Daphney Manamela of the provincial police. The latest bust is part of an ongoing campaign to curb unauthorised mining in the area.
While many turn to informal mining work due to lacking jobs, authorities aim to control environmental damage and violent turf wars associated with unregulated operations. Community leaders urge officials to focus on increased legitimate job-creation programs to provide alternative livelihoods.