South Africa’s Illegal Gold Mines

South Africa’s Illegal Gold Mines

South Africa was once synonymous with gold mining. However, due to massive industrial decline many of the most productive mines the world has ever known lie abandoned and unused. The US Geological Survey estimates that South Africa retains nearly 50% of the world’s unmined gold. In fact, Johannesburg sits on top of the biggest gold basin ever discovered. So, with an unemployment rate estimated between 25 and 40 percent, it’s perhaps unsurprising that abandoned gold mines across the region are seeing an explosion in illegal activity. I had someone told me about gold, there is something called gold. I wanted to know what is gold. Kenneth Damini is a local chairperson for the community policing forum. He regularly attempts to mediate between illegal Miners and the wider community, as well as local law enforcement. There’s three groups in the inner mine. There’s a group, they’re calling themselves Swazi, the other one is they’re calling themselves Sotho because they speak the Sesotho [language], the others is Zimbabwean. Right now they’ve, they’ve got a AK-47 rifle, R1 they’ve got all those things. When I tell them, “guys you get killed in that mine, why don’t you stop?” They say, “what we’re going to eat after that?” Some of them they refuse to work for them, then they just shoot them straight away. Doc is a member of the Swazi gang. He’s been an illegal miner for six years, risking his life daily to try and support his family. mo’ fyah The number of unrecorded deaths in illegal mines is unknown, but according to some observers could number well into the hundreds. Collapses are common, as is sabotage by rival gangs. In February this year, the Swazi’s mine was sealed with concrete by rival miners, trapping an estimated 200 underground until rescue services could dig them out. Several were seriously injured and many were arrested as they surfaced. In late March one of the chiefs of the Swazi Gang was shot dead in a suspected assassination, striking fear into the community that the levels of violence will escalate. These are called stones, these. nxa, you’re okay. Hundreds of zama-zama stay for weeks in the mines living in darkness, kilometers beneath Johannesburg. One of the biggest risks faced by Doc and the other miners underground are the noxious fumes pumped out by the generators used to power the drills. With no ventilation, high concentrations of poisonous gas can accumulate in the tunnels, making them sick, dizzy and causing them to faint. Fellow miners pour water on those affected to keep them awake. If they pass out, there’s a good chance, they won’t wake up. The mine is most at risk of collapse when dynamite found underground is used to break down the rock wall. Doc and his friend Given take their sample of rock to a makeshift processing plant on the squatter camp. They and other Zama-Zamas’ [miners], work tirelessly to make what living they can out of the rock they sweated for underground. Once the gold is weighed, the buyer pays the miners with a street hand off. The price they get for their products at this early stage in the buyer’s chain is just a fraction of the high street value for gold this pure. For this sample – after a whole day underground – Doc and Given are handed only 150 Rand, roughly 15 dollars. In February, the Swazi’s Mine was sabotaged by rivals, trapping Doc and many other miners underground. Doc was injured in the attack leaving him in a wheelchair. After one of Doc’s fellow miners was shot dead in the street in late March, there are fears that the violence will continue to escalate.


  1. VICE News visited illegal mines near Johannesburg, to meet the Zama Zamas risking life everyday in the violent struggle for South Africa's illegal gold.
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  2. wtf is wrong with the world, this broke my heart. What a cruel world we live in. and you find people in the US bitching about 9-5 jobs with $20+ per hour

  3. I’ve literally lived next to a KFC my entire life and I’ve never had a smile like that after ordering from there. It makes me feel privileged some what

  4. According to this video it is estimated that Africa has 50% of the worlds gold, naturally. This is just an estimate. It could be a lot more. This means, in terms of gold (the worlds most valuable tangible resource, fiscally Africa should be the richest continent on the planet. 🤔
    So why are most of their countries still 3rd worldish and poverty stricken? 🤔
    Something isn’t adding up. They also have 33% of the worlds natural resources (gold included). 🤔 As far as natural resources, all countries need something from Africa but Africa needs nothing from any other country. I don’t have a degree in business but I think in terms of supply and demand Africa should be number 1 since they have most of the supplies right?
    I’ve never been to Africa but from what I see in mainstream media the numbers simply don’t add up 🤔.

  5. So sad to see ppl live like this like pac said we got money for wars but no money for the poor really sad that we allow ppl to live like this we pay taxes and live within a system that condemns them for making a good life for them out there

  6. They need a pump, or if it has an exit(tunnel) then fan one side to keep some air flow. A little is better than none

  7. The government is in power by the people the government is for the people if the government cant make resources available to the market then why should the people suffer.

    Ive always wondered why we allow resources to be sold to foreign countries without a proper care going to the ones who technically own the resource the people. Prime example would be my country Canada we export nearly all our resources yet our people pay a stupid amount of tax take in far to many refugees and give far to much to them no offence. And yet we still have homelessness, shortage of housing cost of living is far to high same with fuel. Yet all these things we export.
    Your government in most cases is not for the people but for the corporations and putting money in the pockets of officials to allow blatant lying and fraud to happen right in front of you.

    I for one see nothing illegal in taking a resource from the land you live in to feed yourself or family when the government cant get anyone else to establish a means to extract it. And boost the economy.

  8. This is great! They actually have a good mind set, they sacrifice everything for their family and others. "I would rather risk my life instead of stealing from other people." Or something like that.

  9. Southafrika have to help this people that they make their own companies for legal work and get airventilation and security. This people are born in this land so it is theirs and this people are southafrikas voice! In my opinion it is better when they become farmers with their own land, cause the land foods than this people, every land can be made fruitfull. And when one has no money to buy a land they have to work in a team like a family network and before war and crime comes, they have to speak one with another, cause they are brothers, love your next and be smart, cause god loved us at first. The light was in the world and now they are the light, cause they are now in Jesus foodsteps. Show love to the world, cause without that love war and crime comes. All political buildings are like dragons that tyranice the people, the migth is by the people not by few elites, when we start to jump the dragon dies.

  10. Weird! I donated the boots he was wearing to a Charity in Britain saying it was going to the starving children in the North East Of England, as many are dying as the Government ignore it and the people do nothing.

  11. The illegal miners have balls. It is illegal but SA is a country ravaged by a multitude of scourges. @~3:10 dude says something to the effect like “My family & I have a little money. We make due with what we have. We accept what we have & don’t accept what we don’t,” or basically he doesn’t lust after material gain and superfluous extravagance. That is something to appreciate. Having expensive things is nice and so is improving oneself or one’s station, but it is also refreshing that he’s devoid of greed and avarice. He doesn’t glorify gangs, flaunt wealth, etc

    There is a leason to be learned here. The amount of resources and wealth abused by many on our scarce goods and commodities is finite. Maybe we all can make due with less. We’l surely would be all happier; the aggregate happiness would increase is everyone spent less energy on the rat race.

  12. 0:54 LoL these niggas are so that they even don't know what GOLD is…. & d irony is they're sitting on a ton of gold…😂 But jokes apart why d Africans have so much valuable resources like gold, diamonds, oil, ivory & still remains poorest of d poor !!!??? Why why why 🤔

  13. Keep ya head up guys, if you can make it through the night, there is a brighter day, everything will be alright if ya hold on and it's a struggle everyday you gotta roll on🙏🙏🙏

  14. that country has no future, the anc brings it down more and more, since 24yrs no progress but stagnation, corruption and crime.

  15. 1974 Johannesburg Street Scenes
    And now

  16. no way they only earned an equivalent of 15 dollars, that's not worth it. Think about it can you live on 15 dollars? you meals of yourself and your wife would cost more than that so something is off with the math. Especially if you buy kfc instead of cook for yourself.

  17. So much respect for the Couple that clean each other ear and at the end of hard work day , he buy her a KFC package to make her Happy , real people fighting to survive .

  18. Screw that man there’s gotta be a better way for them to make money and survive. These dudes are good people and hard workers they deserve better.

  19. Illegal? They were doing these things for living. ! Unlike with those politicians who benefits with mineral resources . Greedy

  20. they should connect a long pipe from the drill machine to the outside
    so fumes get taken out
    ?have we humans not evolved to think this simple thing?

  21. Ek hoop hie mense het al hulp gekry om die myn veilig te maak anders is die gov ma kak stupid! help julle mense hou op stoll ons kort geld en werk in die land kom net biekie reg asb SA gov

  22. Africa had all of their natural resources stolen from them….Oli – Gold – name it Africa produced it and had taken from them….There's no way Africa should be that poor

  23. Good luck my African brothers my favorite nation to call them my brother God bless you all work is very dangerous

  24. I love my country just wish we can just live oure lives in peace …but thats life…but hay we got good weed 🍁😀

  25. I would like to tell you all people here about this gold mining companies stories.

    For more update companies post here:

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