TEN Zimbabwean men have been jailed for two years by a South African court after they were arrested for illegal mining activities in the Giyani area in Limpopo province.
They were arrested by South Africa’s elite police, the Hawks, in May last year following a tip-off, and were found with an assortment of mining equipment worth R900 000 and cash amounting to R3 800.
Mpathise Tshuma (29), Decent Ngwenya (22), Lamulani Sibanda (31), Skhumbuzo Mkandla (21), Ocean Mpofu (28), Prince Ndlovu (27), Brandon Nyoni (22), Clive Moyo (29), Tawanda Ndebele (33) and Philani Ndlovu (33), were arrested along the R81 near Giyani Shopping Centre.
Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo, Captain Matimba Maluleke, said the gang had also been slapped with another six months’ jail term for violating South Africa’s immigration laws.
“The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation would like to welcome the sentencing of 10 unlawful gold dealers by the Giyani Magistrates Court on Friday,” he said.
“The accused persons, who are all Zimbabwean nationals, were arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation members assisted by Giyani police and local criminal record centre members on 14 May 2021.
“Our members received a tip-off about people who were en-route from Phalaborwa to Giyani to sell gold.”
Capt Maluleke said the Hawks spotted the vehicle matching a description given by their informant while travelling along the R81 road near the Giyani shopping complex.
The vehicle was then cornered and the 10 occupants found were searched and unwrought gold, pastel, scale, and mine detectors worth over R900 000 as well as R3 800 cash were found and seized.
“The accused appeared several times in the Giyani Magistrates Court, and subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges.
“The court sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment for contravention of the Precious Metals Act of which one year is suspended and six months’ imprisonment for contravening the Immigration Act. The sentences are to run concurrently,” said Capt Maluleke.
A few months ago, three Zimbabwean men and a South African were arrested by police in Limpopo province, who found them with three truckloads of chrome believed to have been illegally mined.
Lloyd Sithole (32), Moses Nemanganda (37), and Wilton Haruzi (34), all Zimbabweans, and a South African man, Joseph Hlongwane (23), were arrested along the R37 Road in Apel policing area.
Their trial is pending at the Sekhukhune Magistrate court on charges of illegal mining.