Illegal miner arrested for murder

One of the shafts allegedly dug by illegal miners.

The Primrose SAPS arrested a man in connection with the murder of his fellow illegal miner in Tunney last Wednesday.

The arrest was made on Sunday.

According to the Bedfordview police spokesperson, Captain André De Jager, the murdered man was stabbed in the neck.

“He was declared dead when emergency services arrived at 1.20pm,” said Capt De Jager.

He said after the incident, the suspect was on the run in the Makause area near Germiston.

Capt De Jager said the suspect would appear in court soon.

The land, situated along Essex Street, made headlines in August 2015 when 30 illegal miners were arrested.

Illegal mining rumours refuted

Following the arrest of the 30 miners in 2015, a property development company and owners of the land, iProp Limited, took over the land and started preparations for development.

Illegal miners were arrested after an operation by SAPS, EMPD and security companies in August 2015.

Illegal miners were arrested after an operation by SAPS, EMPD and security companies in August 2015.

At the time, Mr Richard Bennet said although his company only planned to attend to the land at a later stage, they were forced to go in after learning of the illegal mining activities taking place.

When the NEWS visited the land last Thursday, the area had not been cordoned off and no fencing was visible.

The land was still vacant and easily accessible.

Mr Bennet previously said the environment had become unsafe for the illegal miners themselves and the company had to take steps.

He also said in making the area safer, his company had decided to remove the soil containing the minerals that would be enticing for and sought out by illegal miners.

An eyewitness who did not want to be named said, “That man was killed like a dog. It hurts me to imagine what his last moments were like. He had just bought a loaf of bread and some cold drink when this happened. He had not even had his lunch.”

The NEWS also previously reported in October 2015 that Omni Project was the company contracted to excavate the soil from the site and prepare the land for development.

At the time, the company also refuted claims of illegal mining.

“The community should not think we are here to mine illegally. We have a duty to conduct a site clean up which includes excavating and levelling the ground,” said Omni Project’s Mr Fernando Barradas.

Capt De Jager said there are plans in place to stage an operation to rid the area of illegal miners.

On Friday, January 27, Mr Baraddas said his company is currently not on site.

“We left the site in November 2016, but there is still engineering work that needs to be done. We should be back in the months to follow. The exact date will be dependent on the land owners, iProp Limited,” said Mr Baraddas.

“We can advise that we also have not received the details of the event from the police and if the event was on our land or on the city’s land. This is a terribly sad occurrence and a difficult issue for our society to deal with given the levels of unemployment and poverty we experience in SA. As developers, we attempt to create the place and space for new business to occupy as our economy grows, which we trust will assist in new job creation and given the location of our land, more efficient business and employee operations. Our land is generally close to where people live, thus reducing travel time and cost,” Mr Bennet said on Friday.

 

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