Four soldiers have been arrested for conspiracy to commit crime, fraud, and trespassing at an illegal mining hotspot near Welkom.
The South African Defence Force (SANDF) members were detained and released in August, before being rearrested on Friday.
The accused – a colonel, a warrant officer, and two corporals – were found on the premises of a privately-owned mine on 6 July.
“The court subsequently released them based on insufficient evidence,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha.
However, the Hawks investigation continued. It revealed that, at the time of the alleged trespassing, the group had been wearing full military uniforms and were supposed to be on duty at bases in Pretoria and Kroonstad.
“Primarily what raised suspicion was that one of them had his private firearm with him and they were using a private vehicle affixed with SANDF plates with its license disc removed,” Ramovha said.
All four are expected to appear in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Monday.