Op Corona patrols net 600 plus illegals in November

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A month’s work of patrolling mostly inhospitable terrain along South Africa’s land borders saw thinly spread SA Army regular and reserve soldiers net 607 illegal immigrants.

In a break from past months when Mozambicans accounted for the highest number of foreigners stopped by soldiers working the border protection tasking, Operation Corona; in November it was the turn of Basotho to top the list.

Soldiers deployed on the Eastern Cape border with Lesotho intercepted 233 illegal immigrants with their colleagues in camouflage on the Free State/Lesotho border stopping 64 Basotho from continuing illegal journeys into South Africa.

The 297 Basotho handed to police and Department of Home Affairs (DHA) officials is 50 more than the number of Zimbabweans stopped by soldiers along the hostile environment comprising the 225 km land border with South Africa’s northern neighbour.

Mozambique’s land borders with KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, normally “popular” with people seeking ways of illegally exiting President Felipe Nyusi’s country, were also quiet as far as November’s “haul” of illegals is concerned.

The 491 km Mpumalanga border ranges from south of the Lebombo port of entry and up along the eastern border of the Kruger National Park with soldiers stopping 33 illegals. On the southern Mozambique border with KwaZulu-Natal, 19 Mozambicans found themselves on the wrong side of patrolling soldiers.

Other borders where illegals were encountered by patrols in November were Botswana (10) and a lone undocumented person from Namibia halted on the Northern Cape Province border.

All told soldiers deployed on five South African land borders with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in November confiscated contraband worth in excess of R4.7 million from smugglers. The contraband is normally cigarettes, liquor, counterfeit clothing and footwear as well as pharmaceuticals.

Over R2.4 million worth of drugs was taken from smugglers attempting illegal entry from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Stolen vehicles valued at over R2.5 million, with numbers and types not specified, were prevented from leaving South Africa for either chop-shops or to fulfil “orders placed” in Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.