Lebowakgomo police arrest four illegal mining suspects

Friday, March 8, 2024

Police in Lebowakgomo have successfully apprehended four male suspects for engaging in illegal mining activities and violation of immigration laws at Makurung village in the Capricorn District Municipality in Limpopo.

The arrest of the foreign nationals, aged between 22 and 35, forms part of the ongoing high-density Operation Vala Umgodi.

“Acting swiftly, the members of the SAPS Capricorn District Illicit Mining Task Team conducted a targeted operation on Wednesday at approximately 20:30 in the Lebowakgomo policing area, leading to the discovery of an illegal mining site in Makurung village.

“Upon approaching the scene, the police noticed an idling power generator. As they moved closer to the site, they discovered the four male suspects actively engaged in illegal mining. The suspects attempted to flee, but were successfully apprehended,” said the police in a statement.

They said during the arrest the police seized various mining equipment utilised in the illicit activities, including three shovels, two electrical cables, two fans, one spade, one rake, one pick, one container containing chrome, one jackhammer, one power generator, one drill point and two cellphones.

In a separate incident, the SAPS Vhembe District Illicit Mining Task Team successfully recovered abandoned mining equipment at an illegal mining site in the Muchipise village, outside Malamulele.

The recovered items included three picks, three spades, one hammer, two headlamps, two cellphones and a 10 kg bag filled with precious stones.

“Upon realising that the police had arrived at the scene, the suspected illegal miners swiftly fled in various directions, managing to evade arrest and leaving their equipment behind.

“The team confiscated the items and continued with their efforts to disrupt illegal mining activities through a series of crime prevention techniques, including foot patrols, vehicle checkpoints and stop-and-search operations,” police said.

During the course of Operation Vala Umgodi in Malamulele, a total of 30 vehicles and 122 individuals were subjected to thorough searches.

The police said they would remain vigilant in pursuing the individuals involved in illegal mining and those who fled from the scene to avoid arrest.

“This ongoing endeavor underscores the commitment of the police in combating illicit activities and upholding the rule of law in the province.” – SAnews.gov.za