Mineweb reports that according to prominent mining lawyer Warren Beech, trying to police and discourage illegal miners (zama zamas) is extremely hard to do.  

“From an enforcement perspective, the SAPS is simply not equipped to deal with activity on old underground mines,” says Beech.  By one account, SA has as many as 6,000 abandoned mines.  While most of these are not gold mines, the ones that are, have multiple points of entry.  Even where mines have been closed off using concrete, the zama zamas have been known to blast through this.  “So we just don’t have the capacity to deal with the scale of the problem.  And until we can eradicate poverty and address the socio-economic challenges, there will be no immediate end in sight to this,” says Beech.

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