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2023/08/31      |  Written By:  Captain S Tselanyane   |   Province:  North West

POTCHEFSTROOM: 30 August 2023 – In an effort to curb the scourge of illegal mining, police in the province working together with other role players, arrested 91 illegal miners at two different places. The Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Illegal Mining Team working together with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Klerksdorp and Provincial Tactical Response Teams (TRTs), Potchefstroom Public Order Police (POP), Stilfontein K9 and Private Security conducted an illegal mining operation at Wolwerand Shiva Mine near Hartbeesfontein, outside Klerksdorp on Friday, 25 August 2023.

During the operation, three accused; Sam Mashaba (37), Thapelo Mokoae (26) and Peter Nhlapo (45) were arrested.  The team discovered and seized goods such as 32 super power 90 explosives, 220 meters solar cord detonating fuses, seven CarMax fuses, 17 generators, 26 jackhammers, four water pumps, eight electrical motors with gearboxes, two borehole pumps, one submersible pump, 320 meter long electric cable, 51 drill bits, 200 meter air hose, one industrial air compressor for air drilling and 12 big pendukas. 

The trio appeared before the Klerksdorp Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 28 August 2023, on charges of illegal mining, illegal possession of explosives, possession of suspected gold bearing material and contravention of Section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002). They were remanded in custody until their next court appearance at the same court on Tuesday, 05 September 2023, for further investigation.  

In the second and separate arrest in the early hours of Tuesday, 29 August 2023, police in Mooinooi were called to Newman Shaft of Sibanye - Marikana Operations Mine after 88 illegal miners aged between 15 and 40 voluntarily handed themselves over to the authorities. Furthermore, of the 88 suspects, 86 are illegal immigrants and two are South Africans.  Allegedly, the mine was rehabilitating the unused shaft when the illegal miners emerged from underground.  All the illegal miners were taken to one of the mine halls and later handed over to the police.

All 88 suspects are expected to appear before the Brits Magistrates’ Court today on charges of illegal mining, trespassing, tampering with essential infrastructure and contravention of section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002). Investigations are underway.

The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, lauded the police and all external role players for their collaboration in ensuring that the suspects are brought to book. General Kwena indicated that operations of this nature will continue to re-assert the authority of the state and to increase the levels of safety and well-being of the citizens.