By Kaya 959 News
It is unclear if the stones discovered in KwaZulu-Natal are in fact diamonds.
KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, and Mayor of Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Vincent Madlala, led a delegation of officials to the area of KwaHlathi outside Ladysmith where the stones were discovered.
Pillay said a team of experts from the DMRE – comprising officials from the South African Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator, the Council for Geoscience and Mintek – conducted an inspection of the site.
Following preliminary analysis of the stones on-site, detailed analysis will be conducted on samples made available to the team.
Test results due in less than a month
He said conclusive results are expected within a period not exceeding a month.
“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will make an announcement as soon as the analyses are concluded and results are available,” Pillay said.
The MEC added that a steering committee, comprising of the Alfred Duma Municipality Mayor, uThukela District Deputy Mayor, Alfred Duma Speaker, DMRE Regional Manager, Ward Council and Inkosi Sphiwe Kunene of KwaHlathi has been established.
The team will report to the minister and the premier.
Community urged not to go to the area
Pillay said as expected, the discovery of the stones have led to throngs of people flocking into the area.
“We are concerned about the threat that this poses to the health and safety of persons involved. It is also concerning that there is no adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Therefore, we appeal to members of the public not to go to the area. We further appeal to those at the site to vacate until all processes are concluded,” he said.
Pillay explained that SA is a signatory of the UN global diamond governance structure known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
“This structure was established to prevent the proliferation of conflict diamonds into the global trade of natural diamonds. The processes to be followed in the KwaHlathi matter will be in keeping with KPCS minimum requirements,” Pillay said.
All relevant structures and government departments will remain on the ground to monitor the situation.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said he was concerned that people flocking to the area could lead to it being a super-spreader event.
“We are deeply concerned about the images showing that some people coming from as far as some of the neighbouring provinces and towns are flocking into kwaHlathi,” he said.
Zikalala said it was very concerning that in the wake of a looming third wave there were so many people gathered in one spot, not maintaining social distance and also not wearing masks.
“This could prove to be a super-spreader and might put many people at risk including those who are not part of the mining,” Zikalala said.
The provincial government will work closely with the SAPS, the DMRE, the traditional communities, traditional leadership and the local and district municipalities to bring calm to the area and to ensure that the relevant information filters through to community members.
Main image credit: Facebook/EDTEA KZN