Suspects remanded in custody for illegal gold bearing processing laboratory

MPUMALANGA – Suspects Kapumo Tjuma Monyaredzi (39), Mduduzi Bongani Mutakani (21), Vusi Innocent Nkosi (21), Nkululeko Siyabonga Mnisi(20), Surprise Siboniso Manana(24) Pinias Chitima(20), Kenny Tlou(20), Markmore Rushambwe(26) were remanded in custody while the two minors Mdumiso Mawele(16) and Ndumiso Ncedo Ntshangase (15) were released under the custody of their parents. Mastermind Friday Oupa Gwebu (37) known as Bro Cat Chiko who is the boss of the group was also remanded in custody.
The group were arrested last week in an intelligence driven disruptive operation conducted by members of the Hawks Serious Organized Crime Investigation Nelspruit and Middelburg assisted by National Intervention Unit, Bomb disposal, Tactical Response Team, Local Criminal Record Center, SAPS Barberton and SSG Security Services at Brown’s farm in Barberton.
Information received led to the discovery of an illegal laboratory operating on the farm whereby a group of illegal miners are employed to illegally process the gold.
On arrival at the identified address, the sound of hammers could be heard coming from the nearby bushes. The team swooped on the group wherein ten suspects, five illegal immigrants and five Mpumalanga residents were arrested. Amongst the suspects two are minors aged 15 and 16 were also arrested.
The team followed the information on the kingpin which led to a nearby house where the suspect was hiding. Upon the search of the premises, crushed gold bearing materials were found, confiscated and the suspect was arrested for possession of gold bearing materials. He was also charged for contravening Section 43 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 2017. His vehicle, a silver double cab which is suspected to have been used in the commission of crime was also confiscated for further investigation.
The following exhibits were also found and confiscated, pendukas, hammers, generators, cellphones, chemicals and gas cylinders containing mercury.
The case against all the suspects was remanded to 31 December 2020 for bail application.

Source: South African Police Service

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