The Police in Westenburg outside Polokwane have opened cases of murder after the bodies of four (4), believed to be illegal miners, were found at different spots in the bushes on the Roedepoort farm yesterday, Monday 26 September 2022 and today.
The Police received information yesterday about an incident in which suspected illegal miners were shot dead by unknown suspects on a farm under Westenburg policing area.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe immediately ordered a full scale mobilization of relevant resources, including a police helicopter to hunt down the suspects and also search for the victims.
On arrival on the said farm, they found the body of a man lying next to the pathway. He was later identified as a 37-year-old man from Lesotho. The search continued until it was later called off for the night.
The operatives resumed the search operation this morning and three more bodies were found in the area next to the illegal mining site. It appears they were all shot at whilst fleeing from the attackers. The three are also Lesotho nationals.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that a group of illegal miners from Lesotho and Zimbabwe were sitting around the fire next to an illegal mining shaft in the area on Sunday morning when a group of suspects, armed with pistols, allegedly accosted them and robbed them of their cellphones and money. They then ran into different directions. The suspects were in the process, allegedly firing shots at them.
The Provincial Commissioner has ordered the intensification of operations at all identified illegal mining sites in the Province and that decisive actions against any illegal activities be taken.
“I urge community members to assist the Police in the investigation of these killings by providing valuable information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects”, concluded Lieutenant General Hadebe.
The motive for the incident is unknown at this stage but conflict amongst illegal miners (Zama-Zamas) cannot be ruled out.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Sergeant Brandon Mphahlele on 067 093 9828 or 072 294 4760 or the Crime Stop number 0860010111.
Source: South African Police Service