Local police have launched an operation to stop illegal mining at Rimers Creek.
It started on April 6. This follows after the community raised concerns about the illegal mining destroying one of the most loved heritage sites in town.
Capt Jabu Ndubane, SAPS spokesman, said, “the illegal miners are also destroying a heritage site.
“We did not arrest anyone on that day due to the fact that we realised that there is always someone guarding the area and tipping off the others.
“By the time we arrived there, they had fled the scene, although when we arrived there it was evident that there were people who were busy mining. The operation will not stop. We will continue inspecting the area,” said Ndubane.
Photos of illegal miners (zama zamas) in action and smoke coming from the area emerged a week ago. Community members were unhappy and they wanted an explanation as to why criminal activities could be allowed for so long.
Some community members say they now live in fear of what could happen to them if the illegal miners find them on the hiking trail.
Barberton Times reported on the matter a month ago.
Residents and visitors have raised their concerns about one of the town’s tourist attractions, the hiking trail at Rimers Creek, being destroyed.
A community member who went hiking on the local heritage site, who asked to remain anonymous, said before they started the walk they were cautioned by the person stationed at reception.
“The person said if we see strange activities we must ignore it and move on. We were told it would be dangerous to pry.”
Tourists experienced a similar situation and they also struggled to find their way since some parts of the hiking trail have been destroyed.