Free State- The Hawks have through project driven investigation, managed to disrupt and neutralize the organised food supplies for illegal miners working underground in Welkom area.
Consequently, five suspects were arrested during the takedown operation in Welkom and appeared at Welkom Magistrates Court on Monday, 03 April 2017.
Zwelandile Mpalampela (48) Zukisani Stemele (26), Thuso Ntuli (51), Hlathi Zawe (61) and Bongani Stone (38) were arrested for the alleged financial benefit and aiding of criminal activities. The arrest was made on Friday, 31 March 20017 during the Hawks’ three-day operation that started in Ficksburg.
The food suppliers were allegedly bought through legitimate suppliers and repackaged by wrapping to prevent breakage during drop-down into closed shafts for illegal miners to be sustained for long periods whilst digging.
Amongst the suspects, a mine security guard was also arrested for his involvement in these criminal activities. They were all charged for Conspiracy to commit crime and more possible charges will be added.
Their case was postponed to 12 April 2017 for bail application.