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Five accused appear in Sabie court in connection with illegal mining activities

Five men recently appeared in court after they were arrested near Sabie for allegedly being in possession of multiple bags of gold bearing material on April 18.

Five men, between the ages of 33 and 60, recently appeared in the Sabie Magistrate’s Court after they were intercepted by the police while travelling between Sabie and Mbombela while allegedly being in possession of 23 bags of gold-bearing material.

A provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli, said the men, Jabulani Malubane (39), David Malumane (40), Carlos Ndlovu (33), Francis Khoza (36) and Loud Khubula (33) were remanded in custody after their appearance at the court on Friday April 19 and that they are expected to appear again on Monday April 29.

He said the men were intercepted and arrested after there was a tip-off regarding armed illegal miners in Sabie on Thursday April 18.

SAPS members from Provincial Management, the Operation Vala Umgodi team, the Ehlanzeni Tactical Response Team, the K9 Unit and Sabie police were on their way to the scene when they spotted a suspicious vehicle between Sabie and Mbombela. The vehicle was a white Colt single-cab bakkie. Mdhluli said the five occupants were found in the vehicle, allegedly with the 23 bags of gold bearing material.

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“Preliminary investigation suggests that the luggage was being transported all the way from Ngodwana to Sabie, where police suspect that the material was supposed to be processed,” said Mdhluli.

He said two of the occupants were South Africans, and three were Zimbabwean nationals. He said none of them had a permit for the gold-bearing material. They are facing charges of unlawful possession of the material.

Meanwhile, additional charges in relation to the Contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa were laid against the Zimbabwean nationals as they did not not have valid documentation to be in the country. In this matter, police are working in collaboration with officials from the Department of Home Affairs. He said the gold-bearing material was seized during the arrest while the vehicle they were driving in was also confiscated for further investigation.

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