Six arrested in connection with theft of gold worth R1 billion
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Rustenburg – Six suspects were arrested for possession and illegal dealing in precious metals, in a raid at dawn, in Mpumalanga and Gauteng, on Thursday, the Hawks said
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the arrests relate to a robbery at a gold mine, in Stilfontein, where large quantities of gold, worth about R1 billion, were stolen.
She said the Hawks' Serious Organised Crime Investigation, in North West, working with their counterparts in Mpumalanga and Gauteng, arrested the six suspects, aged between 34 and 44, during a multi-disciplinary intelligence-driven operation, which saw eight premises being searched, in both Mpumalanga and Gauteng, simultaneously.
“The operation is a culmination of investigations and evidence gathering, following an armed robbery at a gold mine in Stilfontein, in 2019, where large quantities of gold were stolen.
“The Serious Organised Crime team worked tirelessly in identifying the suspects and tracing of the gold to the refinery, where its reported be legitimised. The quantum value involved is about R1 billion,“ said Colonel Mogale said.
She said eight premises were searched, where four vehicles – which were bought with cash – were confiscated as the investigation continues.
“The suspects will be appearing in court soon, answering to charges relating to the Contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, theft, fraud, possession, and illegal dealing in precious metals,” said Mogale.
Three weeks ago, six suspected illegal miners, commonly known as “zama zamas” were gunned down, with eight wounded, during a shootout with members of the Special Task Force, assisted by the Hawks’ Organised Crime, in North West.
Law enforcement officers went to a mine shaft in Orkney. On arrival, illegal miners fired at them, the police returned fire killing six, injuring eight, and, in total, 87 were arrested.
The group abandoned their bail application at the Orkney Magistrate's Court on November 8, and their case was postponed to December 1 for investigation.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), their status verification was completed and they are all in the country without legal documents.
The suspects are from Lesotho.