South Africa’s gold is being stolen by the ton

South Africa’s gold is being stolen at an alarming rate and being sold overseas, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The report stated that organised crime syndicates are behind the looting and work in partnership with illegal miners.

Research shows that in recent years tons of gold has been illicitly shipped out of the country, particularly between 2012 and 2016.

“Dubai, for example, bought 34 tons of gold from SA in those four years,” stated the report.

However, the sales do not show in South Africa’s trading account and are worth $1 billion.

It was also estimated that the country’s economy loses around $1 billion each year thanks to illegal gold mining.

The report further stated that reasons for the large illegal flows – on top of the illegal miners and crime syndicates – include the closure of the Sars illicit economy team.

Illegal mining

The source of the illegally-sold gold is illegal mining, which is a big problem in South Africa.

The report quoted an illegal miner in Welkom who stated his group of workers sells 4kg of gold per month, while the area he works in produces around 40kg of gold per month via illegal mining.

Gold is then smuggled out of South Africa to Mozambique and Swaziland, and then flown to Dubai and India.

Illegal mining does more damage than the theft of gold, however.

Transnet and Sasol recently came forward to warn of the potential of a disaster in Johannesburg as illegal miners use explosives to blast rock underground.

The miners are coming “within metres” of gas and fuel lines under Johannesburg, which could cause a massive explosion in struck.

There is also the risk of parts of the city collapsing due to a network of tunnels made by the miners.

A 140km stretch of tunnels runs underneath areas such as the M1 highway and FNB Stadium.

Reports state that the city has asked the government to help fight illegal mining, but has not received any assistance so far.