Zama zamas: Jail and deportation as cases come to court, food drop seized
Illegal miners have been sentenced in two separate cases in the North West, where police also intercepted food destined for delivery to zama zamas working underground.
On Friday the Stilfontein magistrate's court sentenced 18 illegal miners to 120 days' imprisonment each for contravening the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, police spokesperson Lt-Col Amanda Funani said.
The accused, 15 Lesotho nationals and three South Africans aged between 19 and 53, were arrested in the town in September.
The Lesotho nationals were also each sentenced to a fine of R5,000 or 60 days' imprisonment after being found guilty for being in the country illegally. The court further ordered that they be deported.
In a separate conviction for illegal mining, nine Lesotho nationals and five Mozambicans were each sentenced to 120 days' imprisonment. The Mozambicans were also individually sentenced to R5,000 or 60 days' imprisonment for contravention of the Immigration Act. The accused's sentencing emanated from their arrest in November, also at Stilfontein.
In another illegal mining-related activity on Friday afternoon, Funani said the Klerksdorp-based Hawks' serious organised crime investigation unit, Stilfontein visible policing, Dr Kenneth Kaunda district illicit mining task team and national intervention unit confiscated large quantities of goods destined for illegal miners underground.
The confiscation came after the team followed up on information regarding a storage facility, which was used to pack and wrap food stuff in Goud Street, Stilfontein.
During a search at the facility goods worth R482,000 were seized, including:
- packets of maize meal;
- canned beef;
- cooking oil;
- Ultra Mel custard;
- canned fish;
- soya mince;
- washing powder;
- beers; and
- rolls of plastic sheeting.
Further investigations will be undertaken.
Funani said the goods were found and seized about 300m from Scott Shaft, where previous operations led to the seizure of 29 firearms, gold, food and illegal mining paraphernalia.
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