KZN in a Frenzy as Hundreds Flock to Ladysmith 'Diamond Site'

KZN in a Frenzy as Hundreds Flock to Ladysmith 'Diamond Site'

  • The rural village of Kwahlathi has turned into the place to go in the last several days as hundreds flock to the area for what has been described as a 'diamond rush'
  • The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said in a statement that they are aware of the frenzy and will be conducting an inspection
  • There is concern the development is likely to turn into a coronavirus super spreader as the country continues its fight against the pandemic

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A rural KwaZulu-Natal settlement is rumoured to have turned into a place of fortune with many hundreds of people said to have descended on it in recent days.

Reports have suggested that the throngs of people have flocked to the village of KwaHlathi in search of what they believed to be diamonds, following the discovery of stones.

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Rural village, KZN, diamond rush
Locals and people from other provinces descended on a KZN rural village in a purported diamond frenzy in the area. Image: MUJAHID SAFODIEN & Steve Christo.
Source: Getty Images

Huge numbers of people travelled from across SA to join villagers, according to SowetanLIVE, adding that locals there have been digging since Saturday in search of the precious gemstone.

“This means our lives will change because no-one had a proper job, I do odd jobs. When I returned home with them, [the family was] really overjoyed," said one digger, Mendo Sabelo.

An unemployed man, Skhumbuzo Mbhele, excitedly added:

“I hadn't seen or touched a diamond in my life. It's my first time touching it here.”

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According to BusinessTech, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) said it was aware of the "rush" after images and videos started circulating on social media about the purported discovery.

“The teams will be on-site from Tuesday (15 June) and include the Department’s Enforcement and Compliance unit to conduct an inspection of the site, experts from the Council for Mineral Technology and the Council for Geoscience who can opine on matters of the mineral composition of rocks.

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“The team also includes the South African Diamond & Precious Metals Regulator as the custodian of all matters related to precious minerals in the country,” the statement added.

It is believed some people have started selling the stones for amounts ranging from R100 to R300. The development has, however, renewed concerns of a super spreader with the country currently experiencing a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

This has prompted the provincial government to request that all those involved immediately leave the site to enable the relevant authorities, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, to conduct a proper inspection.

KZN government laments 'diamond rush'

In spite of the worry raised by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, KwaHlathi village has succumbed to a large influx of people swarming in for over a week following allegations of diamonds being in the area.

This inevitably resulted in illegal mining being conducted. According to Provincial Government Spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs were instructed to notify the National Department of Minerals and Energy (DMRE) of the situation so that they may respond appropriately.

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Department of Minerals and Energy to conduct an inspection

Briefly News reported previously that the Department of Minerals and Energy (DMRE) has responded with a pledge to assign teams consisting of the department’s enforcement and compliance unit as well as officials from the Council for Geoscience and the Council for Mineral Technology to conduct an inspection of the sites.

In spite of the worry raised by The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, KwaHlathi village has succumbed to a large influx of people swarming in for over a week following allegations of diamonds being in the area.

This inevitably resulted in illegal mining being conducted in the area. According to Provincial Government Spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs were instructed to notify the National Department of Minerals and Energy (DMRE) of the situation so that they may respond appropriately.

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Source: Briefly News

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