Tuesday 9 April 2024


SOUTH African border security officials on Monday destroyed a wooden raft used by criminals to smuggle goods between Zimbabwe and the neighbouring country.

The team also recovered smuggled cigarettes worth over R100 000 that had been smuggled from Zimbabwe via the Limpopo River.

The country is losing 40 percent of target revenues due to intrusive leakages orchestrated by racket syndicates, operating from both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The two countries’ annual trade stands at 60 percent, with Zimbabwe importing most of its basic products from across the Limpopo River. This time around, the syndicates are using inflatable boats and in some cases plastic dustbins to transport either goods or illegal immigrants, to either side of the border.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malasela Ledwaba, said they were carrying out an operation dubbed “Vala Umgodi” to eradicate crime at the border.

“The border police team, through disruptive operation ‘Vala Umgodi’ have seized one ferry at the river bank of Limpopo River between Zimbabwe and South that is believed to be used for smuggling counterfeit goods crossing the border between the two countries,” he said.

“The ferry was ultimately destroyed. Additionally, 11 male foreign nationals aged between 18 and 46 years were arrested on Saturday, 6 April for contravention of the Immigration Act, at Modimolle in Waterberg District and Beitbridge Port of Entry, respectively.”

The illegal immigrants are expected to appear in court this week.

Col Ledwaba said they had also recovered a cargo of illicit cigarettes worth thousands of rand, in the bushes along Point Drift Road outside Musina, in Vhembe District, over the weekend.

He said members of the Saps Border Policing Team deployed at Beitbridge Port of Entry received information about a Toyota Tazz, which was delivering illicit cigarettes within the Musina area.

He said they intercepted the car and searched nearby bushes, where 260 cartoons of illicit cigarettes with an estimated street value of R116 766, were found hidden.

“It is reported that the team of the multi-disciplinary forces, comprising the members of the Saps and SANDF during their tour of Operation Vala Umgodi, arrested a 41-year-old male suspect for dealing in dagga,” said the senior police officer.

“Additionally, one suspect, a 49-year-old male foreign national was arrested in Modimolle, for possession of illicit cigarettes and selling contaminated foodstuffs in his tuck shop.” Chronicle


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