Johannesburg - Police have arrested nine foreign nationals, two of them minors, after they were allegedly found in possession of suspected raw precious metals in Randfontein on Thursday.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said police were responding to information about stock theft on certain plots and farmsteads in the area when they found the suspects engaging in illegal activities. 

She added that two of the suspects were minors and that police also recovered and seized equipment suspected to be used in the commission of illegal mining. 

Peters said the bust followed another one in Langlaagte, Florida and Roodepoort last week in which a woman was among four suspects arrested for the possession of copper cables and a digital weighing scale.

She said the operation was carried out by the SAPS together with Provincial Traffic, Johannesburg Metro Police Department, private security companies, City of Johannesburg’s Group Forensics and other agencies,

"Fines were also issued for contravention of various laws and bylaws," she said.

“Passenger Rail of South Africa and Eskom also participated in some operations, focusing on the destruction of infrastructure and police police in Matholesville seized heavy machinery, steel, pylons and metres,” she added. 

In a separate incident, a 31-year-old suspect was arrested for the possession of a suspected stolen Isuzu 8 ton truck as well as  parts belonging to hijacked vehicles.

According to Peters, the arrest came as a result of an intelligence-driven operation that led police to a farm in Sebokeng. 

She added that the parts that were found belonged to vehicles stolen between 2017 and 2019 including, A Nissan X Trail that was stolen on Parrow in 2017, a BMW taken in Vosloorus in January 2018, two  BMWs stolen in Mondeor and Randburg in February 2019, a BMW stolen in Benoni in May. 

Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of police, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela applauded the integrated law enforcement agencies for their concerted efforts at enforcing the rule of law and also thanked the public for their continued collaboration through reporting crime to the police. 

"if we want to truly win the war on crime, we have to begin to do things differently moving forward,” Mawela said.

The Star