Caught in the act: Hawks nab seven for operating an illegal gold processing refinery in Limpopo
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Pretoria – Seven suspects were on Tuesday scheduled to appear before the Giyani Magistrate’s Court following their arrest for operating an illegal gold processing refinery at Mapuve village outside Polokwane.
Limpopo spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation [Hawks] Captain Matimba Maluleke said the seven, aged between 18 and 47, were arrested on Sunday.
“The Hawks’ serious organised crime Investigation received information about people who were operating an illegal gold processing refinery and conducted an urgent disruptive operation with the assistance of Giyani crime prevention and Mopani district crime prevention members,” said Maluleke.
“When the team pounced on the suspects, they were caught busy processing gold in the field. The team managed to seize 18 bags of suspected gold bearing material, three pendukas [machines for gold refinery], steel round balls, wheelbarrow and a drum.”
The Hawks said more operations to address illegal mining in the province are still going to be conducted.
In July, an operation aimed at weeding out illegal mining which is rampant in Limpopo led to the arrest of three foreign nationals and a South African after they were found with heavy-duty trucks laden with unprocessed chrome.
“The determination of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo to eradicate activities of illegal mining led to the arrest of four suspects during disruptive operations that were conducted by members of public order policing on Tuesday night along the R37 road in the Apel policing area,” Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said at the time.
“The members spotted three trucks along this road and pulled them over. The trucks were found with loads of suspected unprocessed chrome and were all confiscated. The four suspects were then apprehended.”
These arrests will go a long way in eradicating illegal mining activities in the province, Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe said.
African News Agency (ANA)