Twenty-one suspected illegal miners were arrested during sting operations in Dientjie, Pilgrim’s Rest and Sabie. A SAPS task team conducted the operations and eight minors, between 15 and 17 years old, and undocumented persons from Mozambique, were arrested.
The investigation was conducted by members from the Mpumalanga Provincial Visible Policing component that collaborated with Lydenburg, Standerton, Middelburg, Secunda, Ermelo and Komatipoort K9 units as well as Crime Prevention Unit members at the Ehlazeni District.
The suspects are facing charges of possession of gold-bearing material as well as contravening the Immigration Act. The police are working in collaboration with immigration officers as well as probation officers. Several items believed to have been used during the illegal mining activities, such as oxygen cylinders, a generator, cutting torch, chains, spades and stepladders, have been seized.