South Africa: Drama in Court As More Zama Zama Kingpins Nabbed

7 September 2023

The Hawks have arrested three more zama zama kingpins in the West Rand.

They join an initial seven suspects who were arrested in October last year.

The three women arrested this week appeared in the Carletonville Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

And there was drama in court. A man who attended the court proceedings targeted the authorities by taking photos of the leading investigating officer, the prosecutor of the case, and other police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials.

When questioned why he trained his phone camera on specific senior officials, the man couldn't give a proper answer. It turned out that the man was the brother of one of the arrested suspects.

The police confiscated his phone to help them further investigate the case.

The Scrolla.Africa team spoke to Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale who confirmed that the man's phone had been taken by the police to establish who he was sending the photos to.

The latest arrests come a day after the Gauteng Serious Organised Crime Investigation team, working with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority, conducted a preservation and forfeiture operation in Khutsong and Carletonville where they seized several vehicles, homes, and other properties belonging to the alleged kingpins.

Colonel Mogale said the operation is a continuation of the fight against the scourge of illegal mining.

She said the seven initially accused are facing seven counts of dealing in precious metals and three counts of fraud and money laundering while the latest three suspects, identified only by their surnames -- Bathebeng, Mathongwane, and Duba -- are facing charges of money laundering.

NPA regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said the three latest suspects were granted R2,000 bail each. The bail application for six of the original seven suspects who were denied bail a year ago, was postponed to 29 September.

Mahanjana said the bigger case of the 10 accused was postponed to 30 November for the defence to be furnished with an indictment and a high court date.


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