Five people suspected of supplying illegal miners with food have been arrested and charged for “conspiracy to commit crime”, The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Wednesday.
The accused Zwelandile Mpalampela (48), Zukisani Stemele (26), Thuso Ntuli (51), Hlathi Zawe (61) and Bongani Stone (38), appeared at Welkom Magistrates’ Court on Monday,
Hawks spokesperson Captain Philani Nkwalase said the suspects were arrested on Friday for the allegedly making a profit from aiding criminal activities.
“They were arrested in Welkom during Hawks’s three-day operation that started in Ficksburg,” Nkwalase said.
“The food was allegedly bought through legitimate suppliers and repackaged by wrapping to prevent breakage during drop-down into closed shafts for illegal miners to be sustained for long periods whilst digging.”
Nkwalase said among the arrested suspects was a mine security guard.
The suspects, who were all remanded in custody, will next appear in court on April 12 when they are expected to apply for bail.