Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

[UPDATE] Seven suspected illegal mining kingpins arrested in the West Rand

The Hawks have been raiding the residences of alleged illegal mining kingpins in Carletonville and Khutsong township.

The Hawks have arrested seven people alleged to be illegal mining kingpins in the West Rand in Gauteng.

Illegal mining kingpins nabbed

The suspects were nabbed in Carletonville and Khutsong township during an operation that began in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the raids on the residences of alleged illegal mining kingpins were being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs and other stakeholders.

ALSO READ: Specialised unit ‘a solution’ to deal with illegal mining

Mogale confirmed that two other people were taken in for questioning.

“The two people are people of interest and we took them in for questioning… For now, it’s seven suspects who are in custody,” she told eNCA at one of the scenes in Carletonville.

Mogale said police could not rule out the possibility of a link between Tuesday’s arrests and illegal mining activities in Krugersdorp.

“We cannot do that at this stage. Some of the investigations in Krugersdorp are being investigated by the Hawks serious organised crime investigation.”

Luxury vehicles seized

West Rand District Police commissioner Major General Fred Kekana said the multi-disciplinary team also seized luxury vehicles, including 14 high-performance cars and a truck belonging to the suspected illegal mining kingpins.

“I think everyone who didn’t have trust and believe in the police, especially the specialised units that might take some time to deal with cases, must feel humbled to say: ‘the police are there to serve and do what is expected of them’.

“This operation by the Hawks here, it shows police are doing all the best that they can with their resources and this is good,” he said.

Kekana said the operation would also be carried out in other areas in the West Rand.

“We will leave no stone unturned and this is the beginning. We are still coming and those that are still out there; either you hand yourself in or take note – we will be knocking on your door.”

Krugersdorp gang rape case

The scourge of illegal mining made national headlines in late July, after eight women were gang raped at gunpoint and their film crew robbed while they were shooting a music video at a mine dump in West Village, Krugersdorp.

This led to an uprising by some communities in the West Rand who raided homes believed to belong to suspected zama zamas (illegal miners), whom they accused of committing violent crimes in the area.  

Fourteen alleged illegal miners have since been arrested in connection with the Krugersdorp gang rape case.

The case against the suspects was postponed 28 November 2022, for DNA testing and further investigations after the suspects appeared in court last week.

The accused face multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances and contravention of the Immigration Act.

NOW READ: Krugersdorp gang rape case postponed for further investigations

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