The 87 illegal miners who were arrested near Orkney in 2021 after a shootout with police will collectively spend almost 700 years in prison.
The accused appeared in the Stilfontein Regional Court on Thursday where their sentences were handed down.
The sentencings come after the case has been going on for months procrastinate and moreover has been postponed three times before.
Henry Mamothame, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), says all the accused were initially tried on charges of murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, conspiracy to rob, illegal mining, possession of automatic firearms, attempted murder and the violation of the Immigration Act.
They pleaded guilty this week to charges of aggravated robbery and were each given eight years in prison.
Rhewal it reported earlier that a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement authorities raided the relevant mine shaft in Orkney after the illegal miners took control of it. At the time of the operation, a shootout broke out between the police and the illegal miners. Six miners were killed in the process, eight were injured and the rest were arrested.
At the time, the police seized two minibuses, mining equipment, gold dust, 11 illegal firearms (three shotguns, three rifles, four pistols and a revolver) as well as bags of food.
Maj. Gen. Patrick Mbotho, provincial head of the Falcons, and Dr. Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo, director of prosecutions in the North West, praised the multidisciplinary team for their work which led to the conviction of the accused.
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