The family of Rabson Dube, who di€d in an explosion in Bramfisherville, Soweto are disputing that their brother, and two other family members involved in the incident were part of the illegal mining operations, as alleged by emergency management services (EMS).
34-year-old Dube was k!lled last Thursday, July 20 and another person was hospitalized as a result of dynamite that was connected to a battery exploded. A statement by the EMS said the incident was suspected to be linked to an illegal mining operation.
Isau Ndebele, family representative said they received a call informing them of the incident.
“We are still shocked about the horrifying manner everything happened. We were told they picked up something from an open veld but they didn’t know what it was and they came back with it and when they attempted to test it by connecting it to a battery,” Ndebele said.
The family of the three men descended in Soweto on Sunday morning from parts of Johannesburg to clean the shack where Dube died. They told the publication that the three men who hailed from Zimbabwe, came to South Africa to seek employment.
Family members stand outside the informal settlement where an explosion occurred killing Rabson Dube and injuring another in Braamfisherville, Soweto.
The family said the swirling narrative was misleading and far from the truth.
“They were not zama zamas, so where we stand we know nothing about that. These people were our brothers, we lived with them. They probably thought it’s something that could be used in the house because if they knew they would have tested it outside, and not inside the house like it happened.
“We maintain they are not illegal miners as one of the men was a healer and the other two had odd jobs,” Ndebele argued.
Braamfischerville which is situated near Roodepoort is one of the three hotspot areas linked to illegal mining including Durban Deep and Matholeville, which all lay near abandoned mine shafts, used by zama zamas to access trenches underground in search for gold.
Community leader in Phase 2, Ext 10 Leeto Moagi said he did not believe the family. He said the area had an influx of illegal miners which has contributed to growing fears in the area.
“This is one of the challenges that surround Braamfischerville. Our fear is that the kids are no longer safe at night even in broad daylight because of the activities that happen here. We live in fear. Even the police can’t do anything concrete to solve these illegal mining,” he told Urban News.
He said not enough is being done to address the prevalence of illegal miners in the area and added that most residents were unemployed and harboured them in their yards to make an income.
In addition, he said they often move from one place to another, making it hard to know who these miners were.
“What we heard is that the mine next to us was supposed to come to fill this trench but even today that hasn’t happened.
“We will become the victims of illegal miners because where these miners frequently try to blast underground has gas and fuel lines which could spell a massive disaster,” said Moagi, citing that police needed to conduct raids otherwise more lives will be lost.