NPA in Limpopo stepping up fight against various crimes

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The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) in Limpopo says it is stepping up the fight against the scourge of financial crimes, sexual offences, murder and human trafficking in the province.

Limpopo has some of the highest rates of sexual crimes and gender-based violence incidents. The province is also currently grappling with illegal mining and drug trafficking. The NPA was briefing the media on the progress in the prosecution of major cases in Polokwane.

Illegal mining in areas such as Sekhukhune and Mopani is on the rise. The NPA says it is a highly organised and sophisticated activity. Through its commercial wing, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the SAPS, the NPA says it is succeeding in cracking down on illegal mining.

“You find at the back yard of someone’s house people are busy digging. You go on the top of the mountain at some point, we found ten excavators digging for chrome, that’s the kind of illegal mining we are talking about. The seriousness of it is they are digging at the mines but they are starting their own little mines,” says Advocate Talane Mashalane, Head of Limpopo Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Human trafficking has also been a prime concern. The NPA says the porous borders between South Africa and neighbouring countries are compounding the problem.

“There is a matter where Ethiopians were being smuggled at the Beit bridge border and already 30 of them being found hidden in a place belonging to the accused who is a Zimbabwean national,” says senior prosecutor at Limpopo High Court Advocate Lethabo Mashiane.

Meanwhile, the Limpopo Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Ivy Thenga says she is optimistic that the case against suspects in the murder of Collins Chabane municipality mayor Moses Maluleke will be concluded soon. Maluleke was shot dead at his home in Shikundu near Malamulele last month.

“There are two other people who have been arrested and the same two advocates were deployed. Fortunately there was no bail but we are ready, we want to run these high profile cases and see how far we go,” says Advocate Thenga.

Thenga has also blamed what she calls “delaying tactics” by lawyers and suspects for the backlog in the prosecution of some major cases.