Sun. May 19th, 2024

In a significant development, an alleged leader in illicit mining operations, wanted in connection with 29 murders, met his end in a violent confrontation with law enforcement in Jabulani, Soweto, during the past weekend.

Brigadier Mathe, the National police spokesperson, disclosed that a team from Gauteng, under the leadership of the National Intervention Unit (NIU), successfully tracked down the suspect’s whereabouts in Soweto.

The deceased suspect, identified as a Lesotho national, had been implicated in numerous illegal mining-related murders, including a tragic incident in Soweto’s Florida and Nomzamo areas where sixteen individuals lost their lives at a local tavern.

Mathe detailed that during the operation to locate the suspect, the Lesotho national engaged in a shootout with law enforcement, resulting in his demise. He was fatally shot by police officers after brandishing a firearm and resisting arrest at his hideout in Soweto.

These efforts align with Operation Vala Umgodi, a government initiative aimed at curtailing illegal mining activities. This operation encompasses law enforcement activities in seven provinces, namely Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Free State, and KwaZulu-Natal.

General Fannie Masemola, the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), commended the operation’s progress in tackling individuals involved in illegal mining activities nationwide.

Additionally, Mathe highlighted significant achievements, including the arrest of 62 suspects in Limpopo and 9 suspects in the Northern Cape for their involvement in illegal mining. In April, law enforcement confiscated R1 million in cash and various illicit mining equipment from a premises utilized by illegal miners in Carletonville. Moreover, over 4,000 individuals have been apprehended for their roles in illicit mining activities.

During these operations, police seized 7,130 uncut diamonds valued at R32 million. To date, law enforcement teams across all nine provinces have confiscated R4 million in cash.

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