Vala Umgodi operation: Suspects appear

Published Jul 11, 2024


Three suspects arrested in the illegal mining Vala Umgodi operation have appeared in various regional courts in the North West.

The suspects were arrested between Saturday and Monday. They appeared in the Mogwase Magistrates and Rustenburg local courts on Tuesday.

In the first incident, concerning two suspects - both of Zimbabwean origin, Biology Maphorisa, 33, and Ishmael Dube, 20, the suspects were charged with illegal possession and breaching the immigration act.

They had been arrested together in Tihatlaganyane village, near Rustenberg, allegedly in possession of illegal gold bearing material.

They made an appearance in the Mogwase Magistrates and Rustenburg Court on Tuesday. Their matter was postponed until next Tuesday, July 16 for a formal bail application.

The two accused remain in police custody.

In Rustenberg, another accused, Christopher Lentswe, 41, appeared in court on charges for ammunition and firearms possession.

He has been remanded in custody until Tuesday, July 16 for a formal bail application.

Lentswe was linked to a case that happened in May 2024, where he allegedly committed robbery.

Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, the Provincial Police Commissioner of North West, said police confiscated illegal mining equipment such as motors, generators, extension cords and spades during the arrests of the accused.

He thanked the team that were involved in the arrests for their continued efforts in the fight against illicit.

In another unrelated matter, a Lesotho national was found guilty of breaching the Immigration Act 2002 at the Mogwase Magistrates Court.

Galenkwane Ralwenkwane, 35, who was also arrested as part of the Vala Umgodi operation last week, was sentenced to 30 days of incarceration or pay a fine of R1,500.