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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Hawks nabbed 16 zama zamas in Stilfontein, North West

The alleged illegal miners were handcuffed during a multi-disciplinary operation by the Hawks and other law enforcement officials.

Sixteen illegal miners also known as zama zamas in the North West were arrested, on Wednesday, during a multi-disciplinary operation by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Explosives Unit, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and other law enforcement officials.

Tip off

Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said officers received information about alleged illegal mining activities at Quest mine which is situated just off Buffeldoorn road.

“Resultantly, 16 alleged illegal miners were flushed out from underground leading to their subsequent arrest.”

“The elaborate illegal mining activities were allegedly operated through a heavy-duty industrial generator, whilst supplemented by other smaller generators which were strategically located at multiple processing stations for gold bearing material,” Rikhotso said.

Items seized

Rikhotso added that officers also seized a number of items from the suspects.

“During the operation two firearms were seized, explosive cartridges, detonating cords, capped fuses, four generators and illegal mining paraphernalia which consisted of 23 buckets of gold bearing material, electric mills, heavy duty electrical equipment, water pumps and diesel. In addition, large amounts of food was also seized.”

Rikhotso said the suspects will make their first appearance before the Stilfontein Magistrate’s Court on 23 February 2023.

Photo: Saps

ALSO READ: Some suspected Stilfontein illegal miners have previous convictions of rape, culpable homicide

Destruction of infrastructure

The zama zamas alleged mining activities are impacting infrastructure across the country.

Last week, City Power warned that the illegal mining activities was putting critical electrical infrastructure in the City of Johannesburg at risk and urged law enforcement officials to take swift action against them.

This comes after large parts of Roodepoort were plunged into darkness last week, following the activities by the illegal miners.

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department Jack Sekwaila warned that illegal miners illegal activities are continuing without any action being taken against them.

“We would like to reiterate our call to law enforcement agencies to intensify the fight against the zama zamas,” he said.

ALSO READ: ‘Intensify fight against zama zamas to protect electricity infrastructure’ – City Power

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