In the first three months of the year soldiers deployed on border protection confiscated contraband, narcotics, recovered stolen vehicles and handed 12 500 illegal immigrants to police and immigration authorities for further processing.
The Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) notes in a statement “troops deployed at our borders continued to apprehend undocumented persons; they prevented livestock theft and seized people guiding these livestock towards the borderline”.
The majority of contraband, conservatively valued at just on R31 million, was taken from smugglers attempting to illegally enter South Africa from Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Narcotics, not specified but normally dagga, tik and Mandrax, worth over R21 million was confiscated by soldiers in the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga indicating the countries of origin as Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Soldiers are now apparently assuming the duties of traffic officers with the statement noting “traffic fines [were] issued to individuals not abiding by road traffic rules”. Fines were also handed to “citizens contravening lockdown regulations”.
In separate, recent operations, soldiers in the Musina area of Limpopo snared R1.4 million worth of illicit cigarettes. One haul was buried in border town’s cemetery and the second was, according to the SANDF, found at a T-junction in the area of responsibility.
Infantry soldiers from 6 SA Infantry Battalion are presently doing a border protection tour at Maluti, on the KwaZulu-Natal/Lesotho border. During a stop and search operation dagga, Mandrax and tik worth over two thousand Rand was confiscated and handed to police. The same unit was responsible for ensuring an illegal firearm (Smith & Wesson .38 Special) and ammunition for it as well as another haul of dagga, more than 2 kg and worth R12 500, did not reach the intended consumers.