Six alleged illegal gold miners remanded in custody in Limpopo
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Six alleged illegal miners were yesterday remanded in custody after they appeared before the Giyani Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo.
They are facing charges of illegal mining, a contravention of Act 37 of 2005, which translates to possession of unwrought gold.
Lucas Mashele, 47, Peter Tiyiselani Valoyi, 28, Sanelisiwe Mxhego, 19, Portia Chabalala, 39, Rose Maluleke, 43, and Rally Khubayi, 32, were arrested for operating an illegal gold processing refinery at Mapuve village outside Polokwane on Sunday.
The six adults were remanded in custody until Monday for a formal bail application, while the seventh accused was released to the care of his parents because he was a minor.
Limpopo Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said the suspects were caught in the act.
He said: “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.
“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, steel round balls, a wheelbarrow and a drum.
“More operations to address illegal mining in the province are still going to be conducted.”
Illegal mining has been rampant in the province in recent years.
Last month, law enforcement arrested three foreign nationals and a South African in the province, after they were found with heavy-duty trucks loaded with unprocessed chrome.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said: “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. Four suspects were apprehended.”