Home South African 77 illegal miners facing starvation rescued … then arrested

77 illegal miners facing starvation rescued … then arrested

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A group of 77 illegal miners are expected to appear in the Orkney Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Tuesday.

Picture: Supplied/SAPS

A GROUP of 77 illegal miners are expected to appear in the Orkney Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Tuesday.

The arrest of the group of suspects comes after they were rescued from underground by a multi-disciplinary team comprising of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Illicit Mining Team, Orkney Visible Policing and detectives, as well as Mining Rescue Team.

The rescue took place between Thursday, April 14 and Monday, April 18.

According to the provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, the operation followed a request to the mine management by the illegal miners to be assisted to get out of the mine shaft as they were starving.

“During the operation, which was conducted at shaft number 5 in Orkney, four decomposed bodies were brought up by the illegal miners on Friday, April 15, 2022.

“Of the 77 arrested illegal miners who were all medically examined, 60 are from Lesotho, 13 from Mozambique and four are Zimbabwean nationals. Meanwhile, a formal identification process of the four bodies is under way,” Mokgwabone said.

The group faces charges of trespassing, illegal mining and contravention of Section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002).

District police commissioner for Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Major-General Suzette Pretorius, applauded all team members for working tirelessly over the Easter weekend to rescue the illegal miners and ensuring that they were arrested to face the full might of the law.

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