Ramaphosa welcomes Lesotho’s commitment to curb illegal mining

Illegal mining carries a great social and economic cost for both countries, says the President.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed Lesotho’s commitment to cooperate with South Africa and deal with the challenges of illegal mining.

Ramaphosa hosted Lesotho’s prime minister, Samuel Matekane, for the inaugural session of the South Africa–Lesotho bi-national commission on Wednesday.

He said illegal mining carried a great social and economic cost for both countries.

Death of miners

Earlier this year, 31 illegal miners died after accessing a mine shaft on property owned by Harmony Gold Mine in Welkom, Free State. Three bodies were reported to have been retrieved.

The shaft was last operational in the 1990s.

Ramaphosa said respective governments were working with the mining company on the best methods and plan to retrieve the bodies of the miners without endangering the rescue personnel.

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“We welcome the commitment made by the prime minister to prioritise the implementation and completion of the comprehensive National Reforms Process. We commend the government and people of the Kingdom of Lesotho for finalising the Action Plan to monitor the completion of the reforms process,” said Ramaphosa.

Water security in Gauteng

Ramaphosa also welcomed Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, saying it was a vital development to enhance water security in Gauteng and other parts of the country.

“The Lesotho Highlands Water Project contributes to job creation in Lesotho and the construction of new roads, bringing access to previously inaccessible areas of Lesotho. South Africa is ready to cooperate with Lesotho to resolve any challenges that may arise in the implementation of the project,” he said.

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“South Africa is keen to work with the Kingdom of Lesotho on the four proposed renewable energy projects. In the face of the worsening effects of climate change, we need to be making significant investments to ensure water and energy security for our people into the future.

“Our respective ministers should continue their engagements so that we can see progress on these proposed developments.”

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