Today's Labour News

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goldbarsBL Premium reports that SA’s gold industry is reeling under an increased number of attacks by heavily armed gunmen at their processing plants.  

The industry has for years struggled with illegal miners, known as zama-zamas, bribing or coercing their way into their underground operations, hacking out gold-bearing reef, stealing copper cables and engaging in pitched gun battles with each other and security officers.  But, the narrative over the past year has taken on a new and more sinister tone, with gangs armed with AK-47s and other automatic rifles attacking plants to steal concentrate or smelted gold.  The most recent attack was on DRDGold on 21 October, when a gang of about 16 to 20 men armed with automatic rifles took 11 company employees hostage at the Ergo operation near Brakpan to gain access to the gold plant.  In a late-night gun battle, DRDGold chief security officer Bart Coetzee was shot dead, and the gang made off with 17kg of gold in concentrate worth about R12m.  Sibanye-Stillwater was raided over the past year by a gang that was seen off by security after a fierce gun battle.  Gold One was attacked by a gang of 20 in May, when a wall of the smelter house was destroyed with mine equipment and gold worth R25m stolen.  A senior gold executive said that there had been about a dozen such attacks so far in 2019, and the industry was demanding a more focused response from the police, with specialist reaction teams deployed by helicopter to intervene.  He said the level of organisation and military-style tactics deployed in these attacks suggested that the gold-theft syndicates had turned to members of cash-in-transit gangs to assist in attacking relatively vulnerable gold plants.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Allan Seccombe at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


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