HAWKS CRACKS ILLICIT PLATINUM SYNDYCATE

NORTH WEST: Eleven (11) suspects aged between 23 and 56 were arrested by the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation during an operation in Rustenburg and Johannesburg yesterday, for illegal dealing and theft of unwrought platinum.

The intelligence driven operation aimed at addressing the illegal dealing of unwrought platinum in North West and Gauteng provinces was conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit.

The syndicate is alleged to have been operating since 2014. It is alleged that the unwrought platinum was stolen from the mines in the North West and then sold to the suppliers who in turn supply to the dealers in Gauteng.

Information was received about the illegal activities by the suspects that led to the swift investigation of the matter and ultimately the arrest of the suspects. The operation resulted in the seizure of unwrought platinum worth approximately R500 000, six vehicles and smelting equipment.

All suspects are expected to appear in court today at the Tlhabane and Johannesburg Magistrate’s courts respectively to face charges related to Illegal dealing in precious metals.

The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Major General Linda Mbana said that the theft of platinum is affecting the economy and the mining sector negatively. She further lauded the investigative efforts of the team and thanked all the stakeholders involved in the operation.