Two in Zim court for smuggling gold worth R3.8m

Two men who tried to smuggle gold worth R3.8m out of Zimbabwe in the fuel tank of their car have appeared in court in the border town of Plumtree, where two South Africans were also arrested for gold smuggling earlier this month, it was reported on Saturday.

Francis Maranjesi appeared in court on Friday with Nathan Mnaba, 29, who is alleged to own the mine where the 8kg gold was from, the state-owned chronicle newspaper reported.

It is still not clear where the mine is located in Zimbabwe.

Border police found the gold bars in the fuel tank of a Toyota sedan being driven by Maranjesi, 47, on June 24, the report said.

Maranjesi said he was going shopping across the border but was actually going to deliver the gold.
Gold smuggling is reported to be rife at Plumtree.

“Most smugglers caught will be attempting to sell the gold in South Africa,” the Chronicle said.

Two South Africans were arrested at the border post on August 2 trying to smuggle through 5.3kg of gold, according to a report in the Sunday News earlier this month.

The two — named by the paper as Arthur Strydom, 29 and Dale Lombard, 28, both of Johannesburg — had allegedly hidden the gold in the spare wheel compartment of their car boot.

Their case is still before the courts, according to the Chronicle.

Meantime the private Newsday reported on Saturday that President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet will next endorse a Mines and Minerals Bill that seeks to decriminalise panning, which is rife in Zimbabwe.

Mines deputy minister Freddy Moyo said decriminalising panning “would go a long way in increasing revenue from the minerals sector and rebuilding the economy,” according to Newsday.

Gold output in Zimbabwe last year was reported to be 13.9 tonnes.

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