Cape Town – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is involved in over 100 cases against illegal miners as well as syndicates involved in the buying and selling of stolen precious metals, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe revealed yesterday.
In reply to a parliamentary question raised in the National Assembly by a member of the opposition on whether the state is involved in any cases against illegal mining, Radebe said the NPA is tackling illegal mining cases in the entire value chain of the criminal syndicate.
These include illegal miners as well as local gang bosses, buyers of stolen precious metals, front export companies – based in South Africa and surrounding countries – as well as international refineries and intermediary companies.
Radebe listed Barberton, Westonaria and the Free State as the areas most affected by illegal mining.
He said between January and May, 20 cases were enrolled in the courts in Barberton and 16 in Westonaria.
In the Free State there are currently 67 cases on the Welkom court roll, 11 cases in Hennenman and seven in Odendalsrus.
There are also pending cases in the regional and high courts involving the prosecution of syndicates where those accused are charged with, among others, racketeering and money laundering.
A national co-ordination and strategic management team was formed in 2009 to eradicate illegal mining.
The team includes, among others, officials from the NPA, the Departments of Justice and Mineral Resources; Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation; the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee; State Security Agency; South African Revenue Services (Sars); Financial Intelligence Centre; SA Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator and Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
The team submits quarterly progress reports to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Directors-General Cluster. – SAnews