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Police operation clamps down on illegal mining

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The Northern Cape police launched an operation to address illegal mining activities along the coast in the Namakwa District.

Illegal miners were arrested in the Nuttabooi mining area in the Namakwa District. Picture: Supplied

THE NORTHERN Cape police launched an operation to address illegal mining activities along the coast in the Namakwa District on July 6 and 7.

The joint operation especially focussed on Oubeep, Kleinsee, Nuttabooi and Bontekoei.

Approximately 300 illegal miners were found digging at an identified site where the operation was executed.

Equipment and vehicles estimated at R3.5 million, a firearm and drugs were seized.

Northern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien explained that the operation was aimed at disrupting illegal mining activities, arresting illegal miners, identifying and processing undocumented persons, and confiscating mining equipment and implements.

Various SAPS components formed part of the operation, along with the Namakwa District office units, police stations and the DPCI, assisted by the Department of Home Affairs and the Police Secretariat.

The State Security Agency and the Department of Minerals participated in the execution of the operation under the operational command of the acting deputy provincial commissioner for policing, Brigadier Hennie van Rensburg.

“The ground forces were assisted by two helicopters from the Free State and Western Cape, as well as the Northern Cape fixed-wing Porter aircraft, which offered air support to members by monitoring the movement of the miners from the air and directing the ground forces,” said Gamieldien.

“Numerous mining equipment and implements, as well as five vehicles, were seized during the operation, including 130 generators and 121 jack-hammers, spades, chisels, drilling machines, picks and grinders.

“The total value of the equipment and seized vehicles amounted to R3.5 million.

“One firearm and drugs were also seized at the mining area.

“The team also conducted searches at the informational settlement in Bontekoei.”

Gamieldien added that 95 undocumented persons were arrested, while 14 people were arrested for illegal mining and one person for possession of narcotics.

The suspects were processed and are expected to appear in the Springbok Magistrate’s Court.

The acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Koliswa Otola, addressed the members during a parade after the conclusion of the operation and she expressed her “sincere gratitude and appreciation” to all.

She further acknowledged the external role-players who participated in the execution of the operation, for the “professional and dedicated manner” in which they presented themselves.

Otola added that similar operations will be conducted across the Province in areas where illegal mining is a problem.

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