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Police nab mining ‘kingpin’

A notorious alleged illegal mining kingpin was apprehended in Dinga village outside Malamulele by the police in collaboration with multidisciplinary forces last Friday.

The 49-year-old suspect was nabbed for the possession of suspected stolen metals and for violating Section 24f (1) of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA). He was arrested during a joint operation conducted by the police’s tactical response team, organised crime investigative unit, public order policing, and the forensic investigation unit at 04:00 on April 5.

Bags filled with precious metals were confiscated during the raid. Photo supplied.

“The operation was meticulously planned based on intelligence gathered,” said Col Malesela Ledwaba, media liaison officer for Limpopo police. During the operation at around 04:30, law enforcement officers raided the suspect’s residence in Dinga outside Malamulele, where the 49-year-old man was apprehended. He was found in possession of four jackhammers, two electrical motors, and four 12.5kg bags filled with precious metals, all discovered in a separate room on the premises,” Ledwaba said.

“As a result of intelligence indicating the presence of illegal immigrants in Muchipis outside Malamulele, eight male foreign nationals, aged between 19 and 27, were also arrested. These individuals were found in possession of mining equipment at a lodge along the Madonsi road. The foreigners were arrested for contravening immigration laws and were referred to immigration officers for processing and direct deportation to their countries of origin,” Ledwaba added.

Also read: Joint effort leads to poaching arrests

In addition, the police discovered three separate illegal mining sites in the villages of Dinga and Madonsi where mining equipment and eight 12.5kg bags filled with precious metals, were confiscated. During the raid, the suspects managed to evade arrest by fleeing on foot upon the arrival of the police. The provincial commissioner of the police, Lt Gen Thembi Hadebe, commended the apprehension of the alleged illegal mining kingpin and praised the team members for their outstanding work. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Since the inception of Operation Vala Umgodi, a significant decline in illegal mining cases in our province has been recorded. We appreciate the community’s support in the ongoing fight against crime and encourage them to report illegal mining activities. If you see something, say something.” At the time of print, the details about the suspect’s first court appearance were not known. The Herald will follow up on the story as it develops.

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