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Calls for crackdown on illicit mining as residents recount horrific scenes of Boksburg gas leak

todayJuly 6, 2023 52

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Residents of the Angelo Squatter Camp in Boksburg have described horrific scenes of victims bleeding and gasping for air following a deadly gas leak that claimed the lives of at least 17 people.

The three youngest victims are one, five and 11 years old.

Dozens of other people are being treated in hospital, including three children aged four and nine.

Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, visited the informal settlement after news of the tragedy broke.

It is reported that the deceased inhaled Nitrate oxide.

He says one could see that people were trying to run away from the crime scene when they fell due to the poisonous chemical.

“”It was heartbreaking. I regretted why we had to go through that scene. It is something that we might need assistance with personally because the bodies were scatted everywhere.”

The gas cylinder leak is suspected to be linked to illegal miners.

Residents have called for the army to be deployed to bring an end to illegal mining in the area.

Lesufi has urged police to deal decisively with the problem.

The Premier has also echoed sentiments that new innovations and technology is needed to crackdown on these illicit mines that continue to put the lives of residents in danger.

He says communities cannot be subjected to living in fear.

Police recovered more gas cylinders where the leakage happened last night.

Gauteng police commissioner, Elias Mawela, says there was a yard in the area that was being used as a makeshift mine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa extended his deepest condolences to the affected families.

He further urged investigators to get to the bottom of what may have led to the incident to avoid similar disasters in future.

The Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Sivuyile Ngondwana, has urged residents to continue reporting illegal mining incidents.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has blamed the tragedy on government.

Rise Mzansi has urged government to ensure the provision of counselling services to victims’ relatives and community members. It’s also requested that the deceased are also afforded a dignified burial.

“Families have been broken and children have had their short lives snatched away by a situation that was not of their making. We deserve a proactive government that is at the forefront of solutions for housing, a lack of opportunities and safety for communities like Angelo,” says the organisation.

The ANC in Ekurhuleni has urged law enforcement agencies to expedite the investigations.

The party also called for a long lasting solution on the permanent residence of qualifying beneficiaries.

“This will ensure the restoration of our people’s dignity that poverty takes away from them. The ANC calls upon a tougher law enforcement and community-based partnership approach on illegal mining in the Ekurhuleni that has exacerbated earth tremors, shallow undermining and sinkholes in the area having adverse impact on sewer pipelines and overall optimum flow and pressure of the water network,” the organisation says in a statement.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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