Law enforcement agencies have set their sights on arresting the kingpins which perpetuate illegal mining in South Africa.
This is according to Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who was addressing the media on Thursday the outcomes of a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
“In the first quarter of 2023 the Hawks arrested 611 suspects and seized various items including precious metals and diamonds, endangered species, vehicles, cash, firearms, ammunition, counterfeit goods, explosives and electronic devices worth R6 112 768 985.
“In addition, law enforcement arrested nine zama zama [illegal mining] kingpins and were granted preservation orders against their assets that include luxury vehicles such as a Lamborghini and precious metals and cash to the value of R34 million.
“This goes against the narrative that says in our fight against zama zamas we are only targeting runners. We are targeting the kingpins,” she said.
Ntshavheni said Cabinet had commended law enforcement agencies on “their fight to dismantle crime syndicates”.
“The successful actions in dealing with a heavily armed gang linked to a series of cash in transit heists in Limpopo is commendable. Cabinet reiterates that law enforcement should leave no stone unturned in dealing with those who seek to undermine South Africa’s national security and the laws of the Republic,” she said.
Turning to issues related to personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption, the Minister explained that although it is taking some time, progress is being made to bring wrongdoers to book.
“Cabinet welcomed the arrest of nine Northern Cape Department of Health officials for PPE corruption. The suspects are accused of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.
“We know the impatience of our people in terms of the arrests of PPE corrupt officials and their business partners, but we are gradually making progress,” she said.
Regarding Operation Bring Back – which seeks to identify and recover illegally occupied buildings owned by the state – Minister Ntshavheni said Cabinet commended efforts to wrestle back control of hijacked buildings.
“As part of this initiative, the national government is providing support to municipalities to ensure the enforcement of by-laws to eradicate hijacking of buildings, their effective management and utilisation, and ability to account for the utilisation of government’s immovable assets,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za