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77 Illegal miners rescued and apprehended in Orkney

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner North West


POTCHEFSTROOM - As part of clamping down on illegal mining, a multi-disciplinary team comprising of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Illicit Mining Team, Orkney Visible Policing and Detectives as well as Mining Rescue Team rescued from underground and ultimately apprehended 77 illegal miners between Thursday, 14April and Monday, 18 April 2022.

The operation follows a request to the mine management by illegal miners to be assisted to get out of the mine shaft as they were starving. During the operation which was conducted at Shaft no. 5, in Orkney, four decomposed bodies were brought up by the illegal miners on Friday, 15 April 2022. Of the 77 arrested illegal miners who were all medically examined, 60 are from Lesotho, 13 from Mozambique and four are Zimbabwean nationals. Meanwhile, formal identification process of the four bodies is underway.

The arrested illegal miners are expected to appear before the Orkney Magistrates’ Court today, facing charges of trespassing, illegal mining and contravention of Section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002).

The District Commissioner of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Major General Suzette Pretorius, applauded all team members for working tirelessly over the Easter weekend to rescue illegal miners and ensure that they are arrested to face the full might of the law.


Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone
082 496 9642