Crackdown on illicit diamond trade

The Hawks say they will continue raiding more properties to crackdown on the illicit diamond trade.

FILE: The Hawks say they will continue to raid more properties to crackdown on the illicit diamond trade. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks say they will continue to raid more properties in an operation to crack down on the illicit diamond trade in the country following reports the unit raided the wrong house in Sandton.

Raids were conducted in Johannesburg and Kimberley in recent weeks and a total of 26 people have already been arrested.

More than R4 million has also been seized during the operation.

The Hawks Paul Ramaloko says, "This is part of a bigger ongoing investigation. We may not be able to talk about the content of the investigation, but the bigger part of the investigation is underway and we're still going to continue to raid more properties."

Meanwhile, the Hawks on Wednesday dismissed reports that they raided the wrong house in Sandton during an operation.

Newspaper reports suggested officers had barged into the wrong house but Ramaloko says that's not true.

At the same time, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Monday he hoped to strengthen his department's programme to fight the illegal smuggling of gold and diamonds and commended the Hawks for pouncing on the syndicate.

The Hawks and the South African Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator 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 added that he's pleased with the progress but more needed to be done.