Tebogo Msimanga |
The eighty-seven (87) illegal miners who were arrested during a multi-disciplinary operation at Shaft 2 in Orkney on 20 October 2021 were sentenced to a combined six hundred and ninety six (696) years imprisonment, when they appeared before the Stilfontein Regional Court on 30 March 2023.
They were arrested during an intelligence-driven operation led by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, assisted by the Special Task Force and the District Illicit Mining Task Team. The operation was a culmination of months of surveillance after the illegal miners took control of a dormant shaft.
North West National Prosecuting Authority ( NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame said during the operation, a shoot-out between the police and the illegal miners ensued, resulting in six illegal miners being fatally wounded and eight injured.
“Illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material, two mini buses, eleven firearms (3x shotguns, 4 x pistols, 3 x rifles and 1 x revolver), about 4000 cartridges of ammunition and bags of food were seized”.
Mamothame said all accused who have been in custody since their arrest, pleaded guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances on 28 March 2023 and they were resultantly each sentenced to eight years direct imprisonment.
The Provincial Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Patrick Mbotho and the Director for Public Prosecutions in North West, Dr Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo lauded the exceptional work by the multi-disciplinary team that worked tirelessly on this case. They further lauded Adv. Chris Kok from the National Prosecuting Authority for the excellent work and dedication.