Stilfontein suspected Zama Zamas case postponed to month end for bail application

by Thys Khiba
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By Thys Khiba – The Stilfontein Magistrate’s Court has postponed the case against the 21 suspected illegal miners to 31 October for a formal bail application.

On Tuesday the arrested suspects appeared in court for verification of addresses and their immigration status.

Last week Magistrate Lizelle Kok confirmed that the postponement of the matter was to allow immigration officials to verify the status of the foreign nationals. 

This comes after alleged Zama Zamas who are aged between 19 and 40 were arrested at an abandoned mineshaft on Monday. 

“Five of the suspects have been confirmed to be South African citizens, while 16 are verified to be illegal in the country. All twenty suspects have sourced the services of one private attorney, while remaining accused will source his own attorney,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regionalspokesperson Henry Mamothame.

Mamothame confirmed that the state intends to oppose bail.

The arrested suspects appeared in court, after the North West Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, assisted by members of the Hawks’ Tactical Management Section, Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit, District Illegal Mining Task Team, Tactical Response Team, Bidvest Protea Coin, and Harmony Gold mine, begin an early morning raid at a mine shaft in Stilfontein.

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The Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said during the operation, law enforcement officials found fifteen (15) AK-47s, six (6) hunting rifles, two (2) shotguns and one (1) R5, boxes full of ammunition, explosives and an undisclosed amount of money.

“The operation follows weeks of surveillance into the alleged illegal mining activities of the suspects resulting in the arrest of twenty-one (21)suspects, and the seizure of fifteen (15) AK47s, six (6) hunting rifles, two (2) shotguns and one (1) R5, boxes full of ammunition, explosives, and an undisclosed amount of money. One of the accused who was arrested at his home is suspected of transporting food and goods to the illegal miners while on site. His vehicle was also seized,” said Mogale. 

The NPA cannot rule out a possibility of adding more charges as they are studying the docket’s preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, possession of prohibited firearms, possession of ammunition and contravention of the immigration act.

All the arrested suspects are expected to remain behind barsuntil the next court appearance.

CENTRAL NEWS

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