Five suspects aged between 34 and 50 are expected to appear in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court today, 20 May 2020 facing charges of possession of gold burial material as well as defeating the ends of justice. They were arrested earlier yesterday, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 in Barberton on an Intelligence driven operation.
This came after members of Crime Intelligence in Mpumalanga received information about suspects who were busy with illegal mining activities on a farm just outside Barberton.
They operationalised that particular information at which point they and other members, devised a plan and organised a sting operation to arrest the suspects.
The formations later spotted three men apparently grinding gold dust with gold burying material on the said farm on what looked like a makeshift plant.
Police approached the men and enquired about a mining license which permits them to carry out such an activity but they failed to produce one. They further could not give a sensible explanation or the name of the mining company they were working for and were then arrested thereafter. Preliminary investigation into the matter revealed that the farm belongs to the state and that the two men who leasing it were apparently aware of the illegal activities conducted there but opted not to report to the authorities and therefore they were charged with defeating the ends of justice.
Police also seized all the material, equipment as well as the two vehicles which were used during the operation.
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has welcomed the arrest of the five suspects and thanked members of the community for providing police with information which led to the arrest of the suspects. The General has also applauded police for their swift response.