Illegal copper operations worth over R4.6 million, more suspects arrested, Randfontein

South African Police Service

Illegal copper operations worth over R4.6 million, more suspects arrested, Randfontein
Illegal copper operations worth over R4.6 million, more suspects arrested, Randfontein

The Randfontein Regional court granted two accused aged 50 and 60 charged with contravention of the Second-Hand Goods Act and contravention of the National Environmental Act R5 000-00 bail each on 2 March 2022.

The additional accused and owners of P&P Commodities, Pierre Coetzer (60) and Pieter Venter (50) handed themselves in at the Hawks’ office in Krugersdorp where they were subsequently charged.

Their apprehension comes after an employee, Vernon Michael van der Mescht (56) was arrested last month at their business premises where a truck loaded with copper blisters was impounded by authorities during a multi-disciplinary operation in Randfontein.

Authorities conducted an operation in November last year which emanated from information received on allegations that a copper manufacturing company, P&P Commodities in Randfontein was operating and melting copper without any of the second-hand goods permit, foundry/refinery license, combustion license or any other environmental permit or licenses.

The business was successfully closed down and copper operations were halted pending their approval for any valid environmental permit or license application. During this period, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development served the accused with a non-compliance notice.

Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation in Krugersdorp received intelligence that P&P Commodities was back in business and has been in operation for about two weeks.

On 7 February 2022, the Hawks, Randfontein Designated Second-Hand Goods officer and the West Rand District Municipality Environmental Department pounced on Mescht, allegedly loading copper blisters into a truck for distribution in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The investigation team confiscated 42 copper blisters worth approximately R4.6 million for further investigation.

Mescht was immediately arrested and released on a R5000-00 bail.
Coetzer and Venter are expected back in court on 16 March 2022 where they will be joined by co-accused, Mescht.

SAPS Newsroom

SOURCESouth African Police Service