‘Hectic’ week for SA soldiers on border patrol


South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on Operation Corona border patrol duty have had a ‘hectic weekend’, confiscating over R4 million worth of illicit goods, including explosives.

Captain Moses Semono from Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo revealed the first confiscation came in the form of livestock from Zimbabwe, which was unusual as this is more prevalent along the South Africa/Lesotho border. “Our soldiers were busy with a standing patrol in the area of responsibility situated in Maphungubwe Game Reserve when a boat coming from Zimbabwe through the Limpopo River into South Africa was spotted. Our soldiers confiscated the boat, whose Captain swam back to Zimbabwe. In the boat, there were nine sheep valued at R8 100 by the SA Police Service Stock Theft Unit, as well as 57 goats valued at R68 400.”

At the Groblersbridge Port of Entry between South Africa and Botswana, while on patrol after a tip-off, SANDF members arrested a Botswana national who entered South Africa through the Port of Entry driving a Mercedes Benz truck valued at R950 000 that was transporting illicit contraband worth R1 416 250. The suspect and the truck were handed over to the South African Police Service where a case was opened.

At a Support Base near the Beitbridge Port of Entry, Semono reported one suspect was apprehended for carrying King Stallion Brandy valued at R21 600, as well as Super Power 90 explosives valued at R146 700. After being arrested, the suspect pointed out that the explosives belonged to two truck drivers who were parked nearby. The truck drivers were immediately arrested and handed over to the SA Police Service.

In an incident earlier in the month, 125 Super Power 90 industrial explosive packages worth R37 000 were recovered in a joint operation with the South African Police Service. Two suspects dropped the explosives and evaded arrest.

Semono reports that the SANDF recovered several stolen vehicles, including a Toyota Hilux Legend 50 valued at R750 000 (which was handed over to Musina Vehicle Crime Investigation Unit), a grey Ford Ranger worth R770 000 after it was abandoned by criminals who escaped into Zimbabwe, and a Toyota Prado worth R359 900 (which was handed over to the Musina SA Police Service).

“At Gate 6 on Malaladrift road, our soldiers arrested six undocumented persons as well as a Mitsubishi bakkie valued at R65 000, and a trailer valued at R5 000, transporting illicit goods worth R35 000,” the SANDF said.