Cape Town – A 13-year-old boy was among 30 suspected illegal miners who were arrested during a bust in the East Rand, Gauteng police said on Thursday.
In a statement, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said the suspects were arrested as part of the police’s Operation Ke Molao in Benoni.
He said that the operation was led by Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Ms Faith Mazibuko and Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela.
“Suspected illegal miners who are aged between 13 and 54 were found with explosives and other equipment used for illegal mining. The police destroyed the structures used as workshops and hiding places by the illegal miners.
#sapsGP Gauteng #SAPS disrupt illegal mining operation & arrest more than 30 suspected illegal miners in Benoni today during #OperationOKaeMolao. Suspected illegal miners aged between 13 &54 were found with explosives & equipment used for illegal mining.SW https://t.co/QZm3xmWvLF pic.twitter.com/nZUVRgN0NF
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) September 1, 2022
“The suspects will be charged under legislation related to illegal mining activities and illegal possession of explosives, among other crimes. They will be processed by the Department of Home Affairs as they are all suspected to be undocumented foreign nationals,” said Masondo.
Masondo said the multidisciplinary operation started with the tracing of wanted suspects in the province.
“More than 1 050 people who have been on the run after committing crime that includes gender-based violence were traced and arrested.
“In the second phase of the operation, police conducted a roadblock in Benoni where two cars with engine numbers tampered with were impounded. Seven illegal liquor outlets regarded as generators of crime were closed down.
“The disruption of illegal mining operations was the third phase of the operation and also took place in other Districts around Gauteng,” said Masondo.
Compiled by Betha Madhomu