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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Police nab over 140 suspects, recover weapons from suspected illegal mining kingpin

The operation by police was part of the Safer Festive Season campaign to combat crime as the holiday season approaches

Police in Gauteng have arrested more than 140 suspects and recovered rifles, including an AK-47, from a man suspected to be a king pin of illegal mining in the West Rand

The operation by Saps was part of the Safer Festive Season campaign as the holiday season approaches.

The Safer Festive Season campaign which was launched on Saturday has been implemented under the theme: “Combating crime through decisive police action and robust community involvement”.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said officers received information about a suspect who was in possession of unlicensed firearms in Bekkersdal, West Rand District.

Foreign national

“The information was operationalised on the day of Operation Safer Festive Season, 21 October 2023. Upon searching the premises, police from Crime intelligence and Bekkersdal Visible Policing found two unlicensed firearms (R5 rifle and AK47 rifle) and dagga.

Photo: Saps

“A 36-year-old, undocumented foreign national, was arrested for unlawful possession of firearms and dealing in dagga.  Furthermore, detectives went on a tracing of wanted suspects and arrested fifty-six of them for crimes ranging from rape to fraud,” Masondo said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Attack on police is an attack on State’ – Gauteng community safety

Masondo said a high level delegation also joined an operation surrounding illegal mining.  

“Minister of Police Bheki Cele, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service General Fannie Masemola and Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela joined the police at the roadblock and illegal mining disruptive operation in Roodepoort, where more than 85 suspects were arrested .

“They were arrested for offences that include possession of suspected stolen goods and undocumented foreign nationals. Generators and drilling machines used by the illegal miners were seized as the police dismantled and disrupted their operation,” Masondo said.

The operation by police was part of the Safer Festive Season to combat crime as the holiday season approaches
Photo: Saps

Protecting communities

Meanwhile, Cele gave his marching orders to police officers who have been tasked with protecting communities.

“Criminals have declared war against the people of South Africa and you are the buffer between those people and the criminals. It is your job to protect them. I am making a call that you fight against criminals who have declared war against South Africans and the government,” Cele said.

ALSO READ: Woman kidnapped during hectic CIT heist found

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