Limpopo men charged with illegal chrome mining granted bail

2017-08-01 18:33
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Lebowakgomo – Two men allegedly involved in an illegal chrome mining syndicate in Limpopo were each granted R8 000 bail by the Thabamoopo Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Chrome smuggling in the Sekhukhune area had declined since the arrests of Ferdinand Janse van Rensburg, 62, and Wilco Ludwig Bothma, 46, investigating officer Sergeant Letlotlo Lucas Ledwaba testified during their bail application.

Chrome was taken from the area and sometimes transported to City Deep, Johannesburg, from where it was shipped to China.

Ledwaba said the two men had travelled to mainland China and Hong Kong, allegedly to facilitate chrome deals. The two allegedly started their mining activities in 2015 and were allegedly key players in the syndicate.

Both men said they intended to plead not guilty.

They were allegedly selling and transporting the chrome, and claimed to be employees of a company called African Mining Consultancy. The "company", however, had no traceable business or employment activities, Ledwaba told the court.

He said the open pits and ditches created by the illegal mining posed a danger to Sekhukhune residents and their animals.

The Sekhukhune belt is rich in chrome, but its residents live in abject poverty.

Van Rensburg and Bothma’s case is expected to be joined to that of seven people caught smuggling chrome in the area in April.
 
Prosecutor Mmashai Thema argued that two men were rich and a flight risk. Their lawyer Brian Mkonoane said the State had a weak case.

Their case was postponed to September 22.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  mining

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