SA: Truck Driver Arrested For Smuggling ‘Mnangagwa’s Chrome’
8 February 2023
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A 37-year old Zimbabwean truck driver has been arrested in South Africa for illegally transporting chrome worth R650 000 in Limpopo Province.

The truck driver, Brighton Mutandani, was arrested last Thursday by the neighbouring country’s elite cops, the Hawks.

He has since appeared in the Praktiseer Regional Court on charges of allegedly transporting chrome without a permit and contravening the Immigration Act. Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo, Captain Matimba Maluleke said the suspect was arrested during a crackdown on illegal mining activities in the province.

“As the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation continues to fight the scourge of illegal mining in the province, a sting joint operation between the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation and Crime Intelligence was conducted last week. During the operation, a suspicious tipper truck was spotted driving in the area and it was stopped and searched,” he said.

“The truck was found fully loaded with chrome that the driver failed to produce a permit for and he was immediately arrested. Further investigations revealed that the driver did not have legal documents allowing him to be in the country.”

Capt Maluleke said the chrome and the truck were seized. He said Mutandani was remanded in custody to Friday for bail application.

Hawks provincial head for Limpopo, Major General Gopz Govender said: “We look forward to conducting more operations to deal with the illegal mining problem and our presence will be felt.”

South African police recently tightened screws on illegal miners following the death of eight panners including four Zimbabweans, three Mozambican and a South African in the Burgersfort area in Limpopo Province.

The illegal miners died after suffocating when the mine shaft filled up with rainy water resulting in the walls collapsing.

Police have since opened an inquest following the tragic incident. The mishap occurred in the Ga-Moroga Village where the suspected illegal miners had been digging chrome before the walls of the shaft gave in during heavy rains.

Illegal chrome mining activities are rife in areas along the R37 road in Sekhukhune District and police have arrested several illegal miners and confiscated mining equipment.

Zimbabweans were also among the 21 suspected illegal miners whose bodies were discovered in a mineshaft in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, South Africa in November last year after they were trapped.

In September 2021, South African emergency workers retrieved 11 bodies of Zimbabweans who died after a generator they were using in a disused underground mine exploded in Benoni, some 35km outside Johannesburg.

The group which included 15 people, among them Zimbabweans and Mozambicans, entered the mine on August 27 of the same year and they were using the generator for lighting and drilling.- state media