Hawks nab men taking food to illegal miners

Two men who tried to smuggle groceries worth R500 000 to illegal miners underground in the Free State had been arrested, police said yesterday. Captain Stephen Thakeng said the men approached security guards at the Harmony Gold mine on Tuesday offering them a bribe of R10 000 if they successfully helped them take the groceries underground. “The Hawks in Welkom organised a trap with the permission of the directorate of public prosecution,” he said. Police arrested the two men and seized various goods during the operation at the ARM number three mine shaft in Welkom on Tuesday. Thakeng said the two men would appear in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court soon on charges of conspiracy, enticement, attempted theft of gold-bearing material, possession of dagga and corruption. – Sapa

Hospital chaos as nurses join strike

Public hospitals in Swaziland were turning away patients as nurses had joined a nearly month-long public service strike, a hospital official said yesterday. State hospitals had suspended admissions from Wednesday for all but the most serious cases, as nurses walked off the job, said Mthembeni Maseko, a senior medical officer at the country’s main hospital in the capital Mbabane. “Admission into the hospital’s wards has been affected by the nurses’ strike. Only patients in critical conditions were admitted to the hospital as a result,” she said. All the country’s main public hospitals had been affected, Maseko said. Prison nurses and nursing students had been called in to fill the gaps. – Sapa-AFP