The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) blames former mine owners for illegal mining activities.
This comes as recent instances of crime have again highlighted the extent of illegal mining taking place in parts of the country, as well as the criminal behaviour that stems from these activities.
SAHRC COO Eric Mokonyama says many former mine owners have not secured access to mining tunnels and dumps as they were meant to.
“We cannot have situations where mines have ended business months if not years ago and their operating areas are still open,” he says.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe this week called for a special policing unit to be established to deal with illegal mining.