Anyone entering the illegal mining trade plays Russian roulette with his own life literally. There is a bullet somewhere written with his name either from rivals or sneaky close friends. Though using hazardous disused shafts to access ore-bearing material underground, the biggest threat to his life is his rivals.
The following statistics from South African Police Services (SAPS) reflect the gravity of the violence:
- 15 miners killed within 72hours in Springs, Johannesburg, September 2015
- 10 bodies of illegal miners found with gunshot wounds
- 4 men from Lesotho who mined gold illegally were killed in October and their bodies dumped in a disused mine shaft
Hitherto, only seven men are on trial for the murder of Lesotho men. Chances of nabbing the rest of the culprits may be remote.