Two Randfontein company owners, 60-year-old Pierre Coetzer and 50-year-old Pieter Venter, have been let out of jail on bail after they were arrested in connection with stolen copper worth millions of rand.
The arrest of the owners of P&P Commodities in Randfontein came after that of their employee, 56-year-old Vernon Michael van der Mescht.
The employee was arrested last month at the P&P Commodities business premises, where a truck loaded with copper blisters was impounded by authorities during a multi-disciplinary operation in Randfontein.
Recounting events leading to the arrests, Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said authorities conducted an operation in November last year.
“The operation emanated from information received on allegations that a copper manufacturing company, P&P Commodities in Randfontein was operating and melting copper without any of the second-hand goods permit, foundry/refinery license, combustion license or any other environmental permit or licenses,” said Captain Mulamu.
“The business was successfully closed down and copper operations were halted pending their approval for any valid environmental permit or license application.”
Captain Mulamu said during this period, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development served the accused with a non-compliance notice.
The Hawks in Krugersdorp received a tip-off that P&P Commodities was back in business and had been in operation for about two weeks.
Last month, on 7 February 2022, the Hawks, Randfontein Designated Second-Hand Goods officer and the West Rand District Municipality Environmental Department swooped on the business.
Mescht was allegedly found loading copper blisters into a truck for distribution in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
“The investigation team confiscated 42 copper blisters worth approximately R4.6 million for further investigation,” said Captain Mulamu.
Mescht was immediately arrested.
The accused was later released on R5 000 bail.
Mescht’s employers – Coetzer and Venter – heard they were about to be arrested so they handed themselves in at the Hawks’ office in Krugersdorp on Wednesday where they were subsequently charged.
Coetzer and Venter were charged with contravention of the Second-Hand Goods Act and contravention of the National Environmental Act
Later on Wednesday, the Randfontein Regional Court granted Coetzer and Venter R5 000 bail each.
Coetzer and Venter are expected back in court on 16 March 2022. They will be joined in the dock by co-accused, Mescht.