Johannesburg - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) said on Thursday that they had arrested six men aged between 24 and 35 years for corruption, illegal dealing in precious metals, possession of gold and theft, at the Kusasalethu gold mine in Carletonville.
Located about 90 kilometres from Johannesburg, near the provincial border of Gauteng and the North West province, Kusasalethu mine is owned by JSE-listed Harmony Gold.
The Hawks said they received a tip-off that detailed the illegal activities taking place underground at the mine in the West Rand.
The illegal miners were alleged to have been operating underground since November 2016. They were arrested as they tried to make their way out of the mine just before midnight on Wednesday.
Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said a security guard working at the mine was arrested, along with the illegal miners, for allegedly accepting bribes from the illegal miners, commonly referred to as Zama Zamas.
"In exchange, he allegedly promised to keep mum about the illegal activities taking place underground and further promised to offer protection to the illegal miners. The security guard was found with a substantial amount of money believed to have paid by the suspects," Rikhotso said in a statement.
"Since the beginning of the investigation into the illegal mining activities at Kusasalethu gold mine in April 2017 to date, gold bearing material to the value of R150,400 has been seized and a total amount of R73,000."
Rikhotso said all suspects were to appear on Thursday at the Carletonville Magistrate's Court.
The provincial head of the Hawks, Major-General Linda Mbana, lauded the great work by the investigative team.
AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY