/ 5 October 2010

Miners arrested at Aurora

Miners Arrested At Aurora

Nine alleged illegal miners were arrested at the Aurora Grootvlei mine on Tuesday afternoon. The men were found in possession of gold extract and explosives. Three detonators were found by the police.

According to the mine’s head of security, Bradford Wood, between six and 10 other miners escaped. The men were taken to the Benoni police station and would be charged under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

In August the mine made headlines when four alleged illegal miners were shot and killed by security guards.

Woods, a reality TV celebrity formerly on Big Brother South Africa, was involved in the August shootings, but his lawyers insisted he and other security guards did nothing unlawful.

The mine is owned by cash-strapped empowerment company, Aurora Empowerment Systems.

President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela are the chairperson and chief executive, respectively, of the firm.

Aurora Empowerment Systems commercial director Thulani Ngubane had justified the killings of the allegedly illegal miners, after the story broke in theSowetan newspaper.

“It is simple … if you go out there and steal gold, should I just go down on my knees and pray? It doesn’t work like that. We have to protect our assets,” he said.

Besides the shootings, strikes and financial problems, the firm has also been in the spotlight in June for failing to pump toxic water from under the mine.

General maintenance had not been conducted at the mine since March, when most workers went on strike and the mine’s insurance for their workers lapsed.