Hawks arrest five alleged illegal mining kingpins in North West

November 17, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, assisted by members of the Illegal Mining Task Team have arrested five alleged illegal mining kingpins in Rustenburg, North West, on Wednesday and Thursday.

During the arrest of the suspects aged between 33 and 72, two vehicles believed to have been obtained through the proceeds of crime were seized for further investigation.

The suspects appeared in the Mogwase Magistrate’s court on Thursday, facing charges which include illegal mining, public violence, defeating the ends of justice and malicious damage to property.

According to Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, the operation is a culmination of ongoing investigations into illegal mining in the Rustenburg area.

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“It is a follow-up of a takedown operation which took place on 07 April 2022 conducted by multi-disciplinary team led by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation assisted my members of the Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit, Air Wing, South African Air Force, Bidvest Protea Coin, Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management Section (TOMS), Hawks’ Priority Crime Specialised Investigation (PCSI), Klerksdorp Illegal Mining Task Team and Forensic Science Laboratory,” said Rikhotso.

The operation which took place at a Rustenburg mine led to the seizure of illegally mined Chrome worth over R2 million and equipment (vehicles and excavators) worth approximately R100 million.

Samuel Saki Makhoti, 68, and Andries Sekgobela, 44, were arrested for illegal mining and appeared before the Mogwase Magistrate’s Court on 11 April 2022, where they were each released on R3,000 bail.

They are expected back in court on next Thursday.

Illegal mining: 15 AK47s and six hunting rifles seized

Last month, the Hawks in North West arrested twenty illegal mining suspects following an early morning raid at a mine shaft in Stilfontein.

According to Colonel Katlego Mogale, fifteen (15) AK47s, six (6) hunting rifles, two (2) shotguns and one (1) R5, boxes full of ammunition, explosives and an undisclosed amount of money were seized during the operation.

At the time, the National Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya lauded the arrests and seizures by the multi-disciplinary team and warned that “this is only just the beginning”.

“The operation is ongoing and we cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and more seizures.”