The new public protector says she will leave the dispute over the state capture report prepared by h.
CHILDREN from neighbouring countries are allegedly being trafficked by syndicates to work illegally in South African mines.
Out of the 355 illegal miners arrested at the Fair View Gold Mine, Barberton, Mpumalanga, 57 were minors from Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
According to Captain Leonard Hlathi of the provincial organised crime unit, 55 of the detained minors were from Zimbabwe and two from Mozambique.
He said there was great suspicion that the children, all of whom were in the country illegally, were brought in by syndicates that made them work illegally in the mines.
"During interviews with the children, aged between 13 and 17, they claimed to have been made to work under strenuous and barbaric conditions in the belly of the earth. They also claimed to have been severely assaulted for failing to deliver accordingly," Hlathi said.
"We are flabbergasted by the new findings and we will go deeper to ascertain the claims by these children."
Initially the police suspected that the first 39 children arrested during raids between December 15 and 17 last year were mostly schoolchildren on year-end holidays.
In another incident at the weekend a gang of seven alleged robbers, wielding AK-47 rifles, held up workers at the gold cleaning section of Agnes Mine also in Barberton.
Hlathi said police arrived at the scene shortly after they were alerted of the hold-up and a shootout ensued between the cops and the robbers.
"No injuries were reported on the side of the police and it is not known if any of the robbers were wounded,"
No arrests have been made.