Zama Zamas jailed for two decades after illegal mining bust
Graeme Hosken | 2017-03-14 16:25:49.0
Handcuffs. File Photo.
Image by: SUHAIB SALEM
Twenty-two illegal miners operating in the Free State have been convicted for a two-year operation in which they stole R120-million worth of gold from a disused mine.
The men were sentenced this week after they were found guilty on 577 charges which relate to racketeering‚ money laundering‚ contraventions of the Precious Metals Act and the Criminal Procedures Act.
They were also found guilty of theft worth R120-million from the Masimong mine outside Welkom.
Hawks spokesman Captain Philani Nkwalase said the ringleader Lovemore Chaba Mlambo (35) was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment along with his fellow syndicate ember Simon Mashava Cremora (38) who was given a 23-year prison sentence.
He said fellow syndicate members Ronnie Hlongwane Aaron Chauke (37)‚ Thomas Mauvu (32)‚ Tsepo Mashaba (30)‚ Ernest Raas Mahlako (40) and Matias Patric Sibizwa (27) were sentenced to 22 years imprisonment‚ while the remaining members were given 20 years imprisonment.
All the sentences are to run concurrently.
Nkwalase said the 22 miners were arrested in April 2014 for illegal mining operations that had started in August 2012 at the mine.
“They were arrested during an operation conducted by a security company and the Hawks‚ while the criminals illegally occupied a closed mine. Initially‚ all the convicts faced 843 charges. They were however cleared on 266 charges and were found guilty of 577 charges in February.”
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE