Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
Several suspects who were busted by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, may or may not enter the new year behind bars after being arrested for operating an illegal gold bearing processing laboratory.
This is after they appeared before the Barberton Magistrate Court on Monday 28 December 2020, where they were remanded in custody. The matter will be heard on 31 December for a formal bail application.
Among those handcuffed are two teenage boys aged 15 and 16.
“Suspects Kapumo Tjuma Monyaredzi (39), Mduduzi Bongani Mutakani (21), Vusi Innocent Nkosi (21), Nkululeko Siyabonga Mnisi(20), Surprise Siboniso Manana(24) Pinias Chitima(20), Kenny Tlou(20), Markmore Rushambwe(26) were remanded in custody while the two minors Mdumiso Mawele(16) and Ndumiso Ncedo Ntshangase (15) were released under the custody of their parents. Mastermind Friday Oupa Gwebu (37) known as Bro Cat Chiko who is the boss of the group was also remanded in custody,” the Hawks’ Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said in a statement.
The Hawks pounced on the group, during an intelligence-driven operation which included the National Intervention Unit, Bomb disposal, Tactical Response Team, Local Criminal Record Center, the SAPS in Barberton and a local security company.
Information received led to the discovery of an illegal laboratory operating on the farm whereby a group of illegal miners are employed to illegally process the gold.
“On arrival at the identified address, the sound of hammers could be heard coming from the nearby bushes. The team swooped on the group wherein ten suspects, five illegal immigrants and five Mpumalanga residents were arrested. Amongst the suspects two are minors aged 15 and 16 were also arrested,” Sekgotodi said.
The Hawks-led team followed the information on the kingpin which led to a nearby house where the suspect was apparently hiding.
They then launched a search of the premises, which led to the discovery of several items including crushed gold bearing materials. They were then confiscated and the suspect was arrested for possession of gold bearing materials.
“He was also charged for contravening Section 43 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 2017. His vehicle, a silver double cab which is suspected to have been used in the commission of crime was also confiscated for further investigation,” the Hawks further said.