Zama Zama

Zama Zama kingpins denied bail again. Photo: Hawks/ File.

Zama Zama illegal mining kingpins to spend Xmas in jail

Zama Zama illegal mining kingpins to spend Christmas behind bars after they were denied bail for the second time

Zama Zama

Zama Zama kingpins denied bail again. Photo: Hawks/ File.

The Zama Zama illegal mining kingpins were denied bail again after making their last court appearance for the year.


NPA Regional Spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said the Carletonville Magistrates’ Court denied bail to Bethuel Ngobeni (38), Nhlahla Leon Magwaca (26), Thabo Prince Sechele (34), and Moseki Sechele (28).

“The four are part of six men, who are alleged to be illegal mining kingpins,” said Mahanjana.

Dumisani Moyo was denied bail on 27 October 2022, and Khudzai Mashaya has abandoned his bail application. The six are facing seven counts of unlawful dealing in precious metals, three counts of fraud and money laundering. Four of the accused, Ngobeni, Magwaca, Moyo and Mashaya, are also facing four counts of being illegal in the country.

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It is alleged the six men ran an operation, where they illegally collect precious metals from disused and abandoned mines, processed and sell them. It is further alleged that with the proceeds they got from selling the unlawful metals, they bought properties using falsified names.

“When applying for bail, both Bethuel Ngobeni and Nhlanhla Leon Magwaca, insisted that they are South African citizens and that they both have emotional ties to the country. However, the state witness Mothusi Letsogo from the Department of Home Affairs, told the court that after investigation, it was found that both Ngobeni and Magwaca had fraudulently acquired South African identity documents. It was further revealed that Ngobeni’s real name is Zingaiyi Dhliwayo and Magwaca’s real name is James Sigaoke.”


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In his judgement, the Magistrate said that the defendant did not provide enough facts, to prove how the Sechele brothers managed to accumulate so much profit through the said electrical appliance distribution business that Moseki Sechele owns because it appears that the business is dormant. He added that it does not make sense why Ngobeni and Magwaca have properties that are registered under their girlfriends’ names therefore this means that they are trying to hide the process of the crimes committed.

“He believes that the state has done its job and has a strong case against all accused, therefore he ruled that all bail applications brought forward are denied. The case has been postponed to 07 March 2023, for further investigation,” Mahanjana concluded.