The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in the North West have arrested twenty suspected illegal miners following an early morning raid at a mine shaft in Stilfontein on Monday.
Fifteen AK47 riles, six hunting rifles, two shotguns and one R5 rifle, boxes of ammunition, explosives and an undisclosed amount of money were seized.
The arrest followed a morning raid led by the Hawks at a mine shaft following a week of observations.
“The operation follows weeks of surveillance into the alleged illegal mining activities of the suspects resulting in the arrest of 20 suspects and the seizure of 15 AK47, six hunting rifles, two shotguns and one R5, boxes full of ammunition, explosives and an undisclosed amount of money,” said Colonel Katlego Mogale, the Hawks spokesperson.
She said the operation was ongoing and cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and more seizures.
The suspects are expected to make their first appearance before the Stilfontein Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where they will be facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, possession of prohibited firearms, possession of ammunition and contravention of the immigration act.
Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, the national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, lauded the arrests and seizures by the multi-disciplinary team and warned that “this is only just the beginning”.
“The operation is ongoing, and we cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and more seizures.”
Police minister Bheki Cele is expected to visit the area on Tuesday morning.
Source: News24, Times Live, The Citizen, IOL, image from Twitter: @SAPoliceService