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City cracks illegal mine for water abuse 

Meet Tstitsi Maposa, a grinder who makes R100 a day working at an illegal gold mine in Roodepoort, Johannesburg.

Tstisi has been grinding since she left her home country, Zimbabwe, in 2014. When asked how she got into the illegal mining business she drops her grinding instrument, a rock salted in mercury, looks up and replies: ‘I had to eat’.

The City launched its crackdown against illegal water connections by illegal miners, or rather known as zama zamas, in Roodepoort today. Zama zamas unlawfully connect to residential water amidst the severe drought, as a result, residents of Matholesville and Tshepisong have been without water.

There are about 2 000 to 3 000 illegal miners at the Randfontein road site. The miners use illegal water connections to process gold.

Scale of operation: 

An illegal miner who asks to remain anonymous spots an officer of the South African Police Service walk his way. He suddenly feels the need to communicate how he does not mine for fun; times are just hard.

Afterwards, the miner finally gives us a glimpse of his fortune. A gram of gold, that goes for R380 on the market. 

What a gram of gold looks like:

The city says water restrictions will be implemented in the area if illegal miners do not heed the call after today’s site visit. Furthermore, the city’s Infrastructure Planning Unit, Immigration and the South African Police Service plan to shut down the illegal mining site in 2017.