97 Illegal miners and farm owner arrested, Heidelberg

South African Police Service

97 Illegal miners and farm owner arrested, Heidelberg
97 Illegal miners and farm owner arrested, Heidelberg. Photo: SAPS

A national multidisciplinary team established to clamp down on illicit mining activities have arrested ninety-seven illegal miners and a sixty-two-year-old farm owner in Heidelberg, Gauteng.

Following an Intelligence driven operation, a team consisting of various specialized units in the SAPS swooped in on a farm where the illegal miners had been operating from.

Upon further interrogation and inspection, the team seized mining equipment and implements as well as also discovered that all the suspects between the ages of 18 and 35 are all Lesotho nationals and majority were in the country illegally.

Three unlicensed firearms and 570 rounds of ammunition were also seized. The firearms have been taken in for Ballistic testing to determine if they were utilised in any other crimes.

The farm owner has also been arrested after he too was found with illegal ammunition and gold bearing equipment.

All suspects will appear before the Heidelberg Magistrate’s Court on a charge of illegal mining, being in the country illegally, human trafficking, possession of explosives and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

The team who are responsible for this latest success include members of the National Intervention Unit (NIU), Tactical Response Teams(TRT), Public Order Police(POP), Crime Intelligence and Detectives, Bomb Disposal specialists as well as private stakeholders.

Members of the public are always encouraged to report any illicit activities to the Crime Stop Hotline number on 0860010111 and the MySAPSApp.

All information will be treated with confidentiality.

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SOURCESouth African Police Service