Gold Mine

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Hawks dig in: ‘Crime our responsibility – not mine security’

Following the mining industry’s call for a special police unit, the Hawks said the onus rests on mines to handle their own security

Gold Mine

Image via Adobe Stock

South Africa’s mining industry is calling for a special police unit to be put in place to curb the number of violent attacks, however, the South African Police Service (SAPS) feel they are doing enough. 

According to TimesLive, this comes after a security official was killed at a North West gold mine on Friday 20 December 2019. 

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter said the lack of resources and capacity within the SA Police Service to prevent “these violent assaults, which are largely driven by organised crime,” is a major threat to the industry and places the lives of innocent people at risk.

Security official killed at Kalgold Mine 

Harmony Gold confirmed that a reaction unit supervisor employed by a contracted security company was fatally wounded in an armed attack on the plant at its Kalgold mining operation, in the North West province, in the early hours of Friday morning. 

“Due to the additional security measures, no gold was stolen,” the company said.

“As the incident is now the subject of an investigation by the South African Police Service, no further information will be disclosed by the company at this time,” the company added. 

Minerals Council calls for urgent SAPS intervention

After the incident, the Minerals Council of South Africa called for urgent intervention to end what it views as violent organised crime afflicting the sector.

It appealed to the ministers of police and mineral resources and energy to implement actions to “to prevent and investigate the violent assaults by heavily armed intruders on mining company targets, especially smelt houses”.

Hawks: Onus on Kalgold Mine

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said it is not their responsibility to deal with security and that the onus is on the Kalgold Mine. 

“Security is the responsibility of the mine,” said Mulaudzi.  

“It’s safe to say we have good working relations with mining companies and the mineral representative council,” he added.   

Mining industry ‘under siege’ 

In the past year, the gold industry has suffered nine significant attacks that have seen employees and security personnel held hostage and assaulted. 

“Two people have been murdered in two attacks, the most recent being the attack at Harmony Gold’s Kalgold Plant,” said the council.

“Essentially, the industry is under siege. These crimes are hurting South Africa’s investment and economic prospects and urgent action is required,” it added. 

Baxter said the industry wanted a special policing unit to be established to deal with the attacks, however, Mulaudzi maintained that the Hawks and SAPS have done enough to combat crime in the industry. 

“Our mandate is to investigate crime and there have been numerous arrests made in relation to mining incidents,” said Mulaudzi. 

“With this attack, no-one has been arrested but investigations are continuing,” he added.