South Africa News

85 zama zamas’ case postponed as NPA tries to verify their details

Eighty-five people accused of illegal mining in North West have appeared in the Orkney magistrate’s court, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

The case was postponed to November 8 for the verification of the accused’s addresses, among other issues, NPA spokesperson in North West Henry Mamothame said.

“The accused are facing charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of gold, theft and conspiracy to commit an offence. Further investigations are under way to source more evidence,” he said.

The suspects were arrested on October 20 at Shaft 2 in Orkney following an intelligence-driven operation by a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement officers. The group allegedly opened fire on the officers when they arrived at the shaft.

The police returned fire, and in the process six suspects were killed while eight were wounded and taken to hospital under police guard.

Mamothame said the police report indicated that six of the eight had since been discharged from hospital while two were still receiving medical attention under police guard. The court hearing proceeded in their absence.

During the arrest, two mini buses, illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material, 11 illegal firearms and bags of food were seized, according to Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale.

In a separate case, the NPA in Northern Cape province said 32-year-old Elrico de Koker had been sentenced to life imprisonment for a raping a 12-year-old girl.

According to NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane, De Koker forced the girl to accompany him to collect water on March 14 last year.

“On their way the accused forced the child into a vacant shack near her aunt’s home and started to rape her. The accused threatened to harm her if she told anyone,” Senokoatsane said.

“The accused was arrested on 30 November 2020, after he had evaded the police for a few months subsequent to a case being opened by the mother of the complainant. During his arrest which happened when the accused was trying to hike between Kuruman and Kathu, the accused stabbed one of the members of SA Police Service.”


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