The Hawks have swooped on three men for allegedly manufacturing illicit gold with a street value of around R2 million.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the three men, who were found in possession of 50 tonnes of gold making materials, crucibles, chemicals and other manufacturing equipment, were expected to appear in the Westonaria Magistrates Court to face charges of dealing in illicit gold manufacturing. The confiscated goods had an estimated street value of R2 million.
“A multi-disciplinary approach driven operation by Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation in Krugersdorp and Sibanye Stillwater was conducted yesterday where three suspects were apprehended for illicit gold manufacturing operations,” Mulamu said on Friday.
“The team successfully identified the suspected premises where the illegal gold manufacturing operations were conducted and kept surveillance. Upon arrival at Ten Acres plot in Westonaria to execute a search warrant, the investigation team intercepted and dismantled two full capacity for gold manufacturing operations,” he said.
“Three men aged 18, 20, and 28 were found busy with operations at the manufacturing sites and apprehended. Police seized fifty tonnes of gold bearing material, electrical motors, gas cylinders, crucibles, and other chemicals.”
Hawks Provincial Head, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa commended the team’s efforts in clamping down on the criminals and dismantling the illicit operations. He said illegal operations could lead to socio-economic issues such as death and injury, and it could impact legal precious metal production operations in the country.
In a similar case several suspects were arrested in December 2020 during an intelligence-driven operation which included the National Intervention Unit, Bomb disposal, Tactical Response Team, Local Criminal Record Center, the SAPS in Barberton and a local security company.
Information received had led to the discovery of an illegal laboratory operating on a farm whereby a group of illegal miners were employed to illegally process gold.