Equipment worth R120 million plus seized from illegal miners in Limpopo

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The SA National Defence Force (SANDF), in the form of SA Army Light Modern Brigade (LMB) elements, is one of at least six contributors putting the brakes on illegal miners in Limpopo.

Led by the SA Police Service (SAPS) in South Africa’s northern most province, with provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe in charge, police and soldiers are boosted by officials from the departments of Home Affairs (DHA) and Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). Others involved are local community police forums (CPFs) and what a SAPS statement says are “eyes and ears role players”.

A recent example of the work and success achieved by what SAPS calls “disruptive actions” saw 19 suspected illegal miners arrested at Atok, a mining community 85 km from provincial capital Polokwane.

The level of sophistication in the illegal mining operation that was raided was evidenced by the presence of a tractor/loader/backhoe (TLB) used to load ore-bearing material onto a tipper truck. Both were confiscated along with “suspected stolen precious minerals (chrome)”.

The Sekhukhune illegal mining task team along with other provincial police units, LMB elements and others was responsible for a string of operations starting last August and finishing in December. Two hundred and twenty suspects were arrest and mining equipment valued at over R120 million confiscated in total.

Hadebe is quoted as saying the “disruptive operations to dismantle illegal mining” will safeguard resources, enhance public safety and “promote lawful economic activity”.