Oxfam SA has called on the government to decriminalise informal mining‚ which it says is largely misunderstood. The charitable organisation made the statement after 14 illegal miners were found dead this week in derelict mines in Benoni on Gauteng’s East Rand. The death of a five-year-old boy, who fell into a disused mine, also underscored the problem‚ Oxfam said. "We call on the South African government to decriminalise informal mining‚ and for this sector, which is worth billions of rand, to be properly regulated and licensed as envisioned by the UN’s African Mining Vision‚" the non-governmental organisation said in a statement. "The government must acknowledge the role of artisanal mining in macro-economic development‚ in household income‚ job creation and securing livelihoods for the majority of the poor and unemployed." Oxfam said it was a myth that "all informal miners are non-nationals‚ illegal migrants‚ part of syndicates, or [mine] with the intention to become part of the w...

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