saps banner
2023/09/19      |  Written By:  Colonel D Mdhluli   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 17 September 2023 - Police in the province are working tirelessly to fight illegal mining and as a result 68 male suspects aged between 19 and 54 were arrested in connection with illegal mining activities. Amongst them, two were nabbed for human trafficking meanwhile two others were charged for possession of unlicensed firearms with ammunition whilst eight (08) were nabbed for alleged kidnapping. The successes are part of Operation Shanela in the Province which was carried out at Sabie on Saturday, 16 September 2023. All arrested suspects are facing charges in relation to contravention of the immigration act of South Africa.

According to the report, the operation was conducted by a team consisting of members of the Police from Provincial Organised Crime, members from Sabie Vispol, members from Local Criminal Record Centre in Lydenburg, Lydenburg K-9 Unit, department of Home Affairs, department of Minerals and resources, personnel from Emergency Medical Services (EMS), guards from Phoenix Security and Amandla Security.

An operation was carried out after a victim from Lesotho came to the Sabie Police Station last month (August 2023) to report a case of kidnapping. An investigation was thoroughly conducted then after information was gathered, the team coordinated as well as executed a sting operation in the early hours of Saturday (17 September 2023).

When members arrived at the site, they managed to arrest the alleged illegal miners, well-known as 'ZamaZamas' where two firearms with ammunition were found amongst the suspects.

The astute members also nabbed the eight that are suspected to have been behind the kidnapping of the Lesotho national. In fact, preliminary investigation by the Police revealed that two of the suspects are allegedly involved in some dodgy dealings of trafficking people from Lesotho and used them for illegal mining in Sabie area. The two are faced with charges of human trafficking for now. More charges could possibly be added against them as the investigation continues.

The investigators are adamant that there could more other criminal activities that these men might be involved in however the probe is underway whereby other stakeholders are positively assisting to ensure that the law take its course.

The confiscated firearms will surely undergo ballistic testing to determine whether they were not used previously in the commission of crime. The suspects are expected to appear at the Sabie Magistrate's Court tomorrow, Monday 18 September 2023 facing the said charges.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has expressed her gratitude to the outstanding work that has been done by the collaborative team. "We are very much glad that, not only were huge number of suspects arrested but two firearms were discovered. The issue of illegal mining is a concern in our country and we are happy that the public can see that the state in conjunction with the private sector are working hard to address the challenge, hence this success, " said the General.