As always, the thin line of soldiers in camouflage continue to do their bit under trying circumstances, stopping stolen vehicles leaving South Africa and preventing illicit cigarettes from local sale without government’s share of excise duty.
Reports from Operation Corona provincial tactical headquarters and bases on two separate borders again prove the value add provided by the small Op Corona force of 15 military companies, mostly infantry from both Regular and Reserve force units.
A report from Limpopo tactical headquarters has it soldiers were involved in no less than six successes at different sites over a 72 hour period.
In the first, 14 master boxes of cigarettes valued at over R185 000 were confiscated with a standing patrol in another area taking more than R500 000 worth of cigarettes from smugglers. Other patrols saw police and SA Revenue Service (SARS) given illegal cigarettes worth over R1.4 million and three vehicles – a Volvo SUV (R400 000), a Ford Ranger (R130 000) and a Mazda Drifter (value not given) – recovered.
Another patrol “came across” a bakkie loading cigarettes in Mala village. An attempted escape saw the vehicle crash and soldiers were able to confiscate 19 master boxes of illicit Remington cigarettes valued at R266 994. No-one was apprehended.
Several hundred kilometres south, soldiers patrolling the South Africa/Lesotho border in the Eastern Cape assisted the SA Police Service (SAPS) Maluti stock theft unit with the recovery of 25 sheep (worth R37 500) and 32 cattle, valued at R236 000. All livestock was returned to their rightful owners but Eastern Cape joint tactical headquarters makes no mention of any arrests.