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Another 40 illegal miners arrested in sting operation in Krugersdorp

A man was shot and fatally killed by police and 2 were arrested after a shoot out. Minister Bheki Cele was in the area when the incident took place.Image: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency(ANA)

A man was shot and fatally killed by police and 2 were arrested after a shoot out. Minister Bheki Cele was in the area when the incident took place.Image: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Police arrested more than 40 people in an ongoing operation targeting illegal mining activities in Krugersdorp, west of Joburg, yesterday following the rape of eight women in the area.

Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela, accompanied by Minister of Police Bheki Cele and a team made up of different groups of police officials, clamped down on illegal mining activities near old mine shafts where illegal miners were believed to be operating and processing gold.

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Among those who were arrested were two males believed to be juveniles.

The two were believed to have been playing a “policing” role at the site where the miners process their gold. Police had also summoned dog handlers which specialise in explosives.

Equipment used by the illegal mining operation. Image: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency(ANA)

“There have been more than 40 arrests and the operation will continue in different areas. The majority of these people go through the justice system, whereby some of them will be given a jail term,” Mawela said.

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Cele said illegal mining was a problem in at least four provinces including North West, Limpopo and the Free State. He said police had made a number of successful arrests concerning illegal mining activities.

“At one time in Orkney there was a battle fought underground and in Welkom, where we started with these teams, two years ago. We need to work in a way that these things do not happen,” he said.

Cele said during the operation that there was evidence of women living among the illegal miners. According to those who understand the illegal mining system, there were women who would go underground to serve as prostitutes to the miners underground.

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A suspect was arrested.Image: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency(ANA)

“Where we were, there was women’s stuff. In some cells you could see that these were ladies’ cells and we have to find the owners to tell us where they found these things,” Cele said.

Cele said he was concerned that the illegal miners had become gangs among communities they live in. He said he had been told that in some cases women would be fetched from their homes to be raped in mine dumps or open fields. In most cases, the miners would be carrying ammunition.

“What we agree upon is that there are lots of guns here,” Cele said. He said activities concerning illegal ammunition were so bad that police had recently arrested a women who was hiding 500 bullets between her back and the baby she was carrying. Police said the Krugersdorp operation would continue.

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Meanwhile, more than 80 men had appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court in connection with the rape of the crew that was shooting a music video last week.

Many of them were charged with illegal mining, possession of explosives, stolen goods, illegal ammunition and contravening the Immigration Act.

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SAPSCrime and courts

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