Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
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 under Limpopo province.
The gang was arrested by the neighboring country’s elite police, the Hawks in May last year following a tip-off.
They were found with an assortment of mining equipment worth R900 000 and cash of R380 000 along the R81 near Giyani Shopping center.
The jailed are 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).
Hawks’ spokesperson for Limpopo, Captain Matimba Maluleke said the gang had also been slapped with another six months jail term for violating that country’s immigration laws.
“The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation would like to welcome the sentencing of ten (10) unlawful gold dealers by the Giyani Magistrate’s Court on Friday (1 April 2022),” 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”.
Captain Maluleke said the Hawks spotted the vehicle matching a description given by their informant while traveling along the R81 road near the Giyani shopping complex.
He said the gang was cornered and the 10 occupants were found in the vehicle and they were searched.
Upon searching them, unwrought gold, pastel, scale, and mine detectors worth over R900 000-00 as well as R3800-00 cash were found and seized.
“The accused appeared several times in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court, and subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges.
The court sentenced them to two (2) years imprisonment for contravention of the Precious Metal 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 national were arrested by police in Limpopo province who found them with three truckloads of chrome believed to have been illegally mined.
The four Lloyd Sithole (32), Moses Nemanganda (37), and Wilton Haruzi (34) all Zimbabweans, and a local 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.