According to a SAPS media statement, on Wednesday three men were arrested for allegedly operating an illegal gold processing refinery in Zuurbekom, Gauteng.
The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit, the West Rand Tactical Response Team and Eskom ran an integrated operation leading to the arrest of three men aged between 21 and 47.
The team received information about an illegal gold processing plant, but they kept it hush while they were doing observations.
On Wednesday the team decided to disrupt the ongoing operation and found five properly developed manufacturing operations on the plot. Further findings also showed that the suspects were allegedly stealing electricity from Eskom to maintain the operations.
The SAPS wrote, “Two of the suspects were found busy processing the gold and were apprehended. The plot owner was also arrested for harbouring people who were operating criminal activities on his premises.”
The statement further read, “The team seized ten big Phendukas, thirty tonnes of gold-bearing material, four gas cylinders and mercury all worth about R5 million. The Hawks’ Priority Crime Specialised Investigation team has been roped in to initiate a financial and assets investigation.”
The three suspects were expected to appear in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.