Update: Wonderfontein suspects in court

A ninth suspect was arrested in connection with coal theft at the Wonderfontein Mine near Belfast last week.

Eight men were arrested on Thursday after a joint operation by the Middelburg Hawks, the K9 unit and Bidvest Protea Coin Security officers.

The operation was planned after police received information about large scale coal theft at the mine, and that coal was going to be loaded at the mine during night time.

Hawks spokesperson, capt. Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said that it came to light that the alleged thieves had a deal with corrupt security officers on the mine, to grant them access to the mine via a back gate. It is alleged that security officers received bribe money ranging from R35 000 to R50 000.

During the operation, it is alleged that the suspects who were arrested, tried to run over police officers with their trucks, in the process damaging a state vehicle.

“A charge of attempted murder was added to the theft charge,” capt. Sekgotodi said.

Read: Belfast – Eight arrested on mine

Eight suspects were arrested and coal and 12 trucks, estimated to be worth over R30 million, were seized during the operation. A ninth suspect was arrested later on the same day, after he allegedly attempted to open a hijacking case at the Belfast police station.

Mathokozana Mandla Tsabedze (39), Christopher Khumbulani Tshezi (57) , Frans Basi Mahlangu (55), Mangoba Gwala(25), Khulekani Dlamini(26), Triphine Muzondi (53), Bonginkosi Ndlhovu (31), Sandi Mathebula (44) and Moses Alfred Masombuka (36) all appeared in the Belfast Magistrate Court. They have been remanded in custody until their formal bail application on 2 June.

Capt. Sekgotodi urged the community to inform police if they know the whereabouts of the remaining suspects who have not yet been arrested.

Jana Boshoff

Award-winning community news journalist with over a decade's newsroom experience. Passionate about hard-hitting news stories!
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