Ramatlhodi commends Hawks on diamond dealer bust

The minister has commended the Hawks for pouncing on an illegal diamond smuggling syndicate.

FILE IMAGE. Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has commended the Hawks for pouncing on an illegal diamond smuggling syndicate.Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi says he hopes to strengthen his department's programme to fight the illegal smuggling of gold and diamonds and has commended the Hawks for pouncing on a syndicate in Gauteng and the Northern Cape.

The Hawks and the South African Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator (SADPMR) shut down an illegal gold refinery in Springs earlier this month and by last week had arrested 19 illegal dealers.

The sale of South African gold on the black market is worth more than R5 billion a year.

Ramatlhodi says he is pleased with the progress but more needs to be done.

"If there are good practices in the department I intend to strengthen them and maintain them, possibly even expand."