NELSPRUIT – Eight suspects were arrested in connection with the tempering of essential infrastructure at a certain mine in Witbank and they appeared at the Emalahleni Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 10 October 2022.
It is said that in the early hours of Saturday, 08 October 2022, at around 01:00, the drone operator is said to have spotted a white Ford Ranger bakkie being loaded with some High Density Polyethylene pipes within the premises of the mine without authorisation. Security personnel were immediately activated and they set a chase on the said vehicle.
The driver and his crew reportedly sped off on realisation of the security personnel but the guards managed to distract their vehicle until it came to a halt. Two suspects are said to have alighted from the vehicle and ran on foot where they somehow disappeared. The search for other suspects ensued. Eight suspects were then apprehended with one caught after being seen driving in a vehicle suspected to have been ferrying the suspects. Two bakkies were seized and one was reportedly found loaded with the said pipes as well as some tools believed to have been used during the incident. The police were informed about the incident and the suspects were charged accordingly. They are facing charges in relation to tempering with infrastructure as well as trespassing and police cannot rule out possibilities of adding more charges against the suspects as the investigation continues.
The suspects are Alfred Khoza (44), David Mdaka (39), Joseph Mathebula (36), Ameko Sithole (34), Zito Masiya (40), Steve Masewane (35), Barnet Sithole (34) and Themba Ubisi (27). Although they were all granted free bail during their court appearance, the case is still far from over. The team of investigators will use the time to thoroughly conduct their probe in preparation for the trial. The matter was postponed to 17 October 2022.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the arrest of the suspects and strongly warned people who temper with infrastructure as this has negative impact on the country’s economy.
Source: South African Police Service