The owner of the Floxifor gold mine in the North West, Joel Mafenya, says the fact that his mine was set ablaze by thugs last week should be "an embarrassment for the whole country". Mafenya, who describes himself as SA’s "only independent black gold mine owner", is the latest victim of a scourge that has been running rampant: ruthless and well-armed mining mafia outfits, seeking to hijack mining assets.

To describe them simply as "zama zamas" — essentially, small illegal miners — would be to understate the problem...

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