South African gold is being looted on an “industrial scale”, with research estimating that the country loses about $1bn (around R14.4bn) through illegal gold mining every year, the Sunday Times reported.
According to the report, much of this looting occurred during the height of state capture, between 2012 and 2016, and it has been linked to the alleged decimation of the South African Revenue Services’ (SARS) capacity to investigate the illicit economy.
According to the paper, research by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI) shows large anomalies in gold trade data. In one case, Dubai bought 34 tons of gold from South Africa from 2012-2016, but this is not reflected in South Africa’s trading accounts.
In another case studied by the GI, eSwatini (Swaziland) reportedly sold 2.1 tons of South African-mined gold to India between 2011 and 2016.
eSwatini reportedly earned $40m (around R577m) from the sales, while South Africa was paid only $91 445 (around R1.3m) for the gold sold to it.