Soldiers on border protection duty have recorded more successes against criminals and illegal immigrants, apprehending hundreds of people and confiscating millions of rands worth of illicit cigarettes and stolen vehicles.
The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) on 24 November said that in three separate night operations, one near Gumbu mine, another close to Poppalin Ranch and one near Madimbo Ops Base, soldiers intercepted and confiscated three suspected stolen vehicles (a Ford Ranger, an Audi Sedan and a Ford Territory) together with 200 undocumented persons.
The Ford Territory, valued at R120 000, was found with 23 master boxes, 28 cartons and two packets of Pacific cigarettes valued R314 511.
SARS/Customs were still busy with the value of the Ford Ranger and Audi at the time of publication.
In a separate operation close to Madimbo Ops Base, soldiers confiscated 20 boxes and three cartons of Remington cigarettes. The estimated value of the cigarettes is approximately R300 000.
Elsewhere, on 22 November SANDF members established a Vehicle Control Point (VCP) at Golela junction along the N2 in Pongola. During the operation a white Toyota Hilux was pulled over, and a search led to the discovery of dagga valued at R340 380. Two suspects in connection with the possession of dagga were arrested and taken to Pongola police station and the dagga was also booked in as an exhibit.
The SANDF said that a joint night operation around the Beitbridge Port of Entry saw the SA National Defence Force, the SA Police Service and traffic officials yielding “huge success in clearing Undocumented Persons (UDPs), illegal activities, as well as illegal border crossings.” The operation included foot patrols, vehicle patrols and roadblocks. 270 undocumented persons were deported and R6 700 in fines were issued for drivers without licences and four vehicles were impounded.
Soldiers and other SA Army units are tasked with border protection under the Operation Corona banner, patrolling South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, eSwatini and Zimbabwe.
Statistics for October released by the Joint Operations Division of the SANDF show soldiers on Free State borders with Lesotho recovered 93 cattle and a further 139 head of “small stock” (goats and sheep).
Also in October, 1 551 undocumented persons, aka illegal immigrants, were rounded up. The majority – 1 144 – attempted to enter South Africa illegally from Zimbabwe with a further 87 Mozambicans apprehended in Mpumalanga.
South Africa’s border with Mozambique in KwaZulu-Natal has long been a popular exit point for stolen vehicles. Of 33 vehicles recovered nationally by soldiers in October, 15 were in KwaZulu-Natal. The provincial authority, via its Department of Roads and Transport and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is casting and positioning concrete Jersey barriers to physically stop vehicles leaving the country illegally.
Contraband, mainly cigarettes and liquor, valued at R7.7 million was confiscated by soldiers and handed to police and SA Revenue Service officials for disposal in October. Narcotics, excluding dagga, valued at R3.8 million was taken from smugglers. One thousand three hundred plus kilogrammes of dagga was confiscated along South Africa’s borders with Lesotho and Mozambique.