SANDF soldiers recover water tanker on Lesotho border


By far the most intriguing “item” recovered by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on the border protection tasking Operation Corona last month was a water truck worth an estimated R2 million.

The June data on border protection achievements states a water truck was one of five notable achievements recorded on the Free State/Lesotho border. The others are listed by the Joint Operations Division of the SANDF as six undocumented persons arrested, one criminal arrested, narcotics to the value of R337 500 seized and contraband to the value of R19 000 recovered.

There is no indication of where and whether the tanker was prevented from exiting South Africa or landlocked Lesotho as well as was it, for example, fitted as a supply unit for consumers left waterless thanks to power cuts and/or equipment failure or for civil engineering/construction applications. If the latter the tanker becomes number two on the list of stolen construction equipment this year alongside a tractor/loader/backhoe (TLB) found by border protection soldiers in a Limpopo village.

Soldiers observing and patrolling Mozambique’s borders with KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga in June seized contraband, drugs and stolen vehicles valued at just on R4 million (R865 000 worth of stolen vehicles, and R1 million worth of contraband). The KwaZulu-Natal border saw smugglers lose R2.3 million plus worth of unspecified drugs, probably mostly dagga, while the Mpumalanga border with South Africa’s eastern neighbour yielded “narcotics” conservatively valued at R1.6 million plus.

Winter’s cold doesn’t seem to affect people from neighbouring countries from seeking work and a hopefully better life in South Africa. Six hundred and forty-two illegal immigrants were stopped and handed to police and Department of Home Affairs (DHA) immigration officials compared to 556 in May.

Two-hundred and fifty Zimbabweans were prevented from continuing illegal journeys to the South African hinterland. On the Mpumalanga/Mozambique border, soldiers working with police and immigration officials stopped 205 illegals with their colleagues to the south on the KwaZulu-Natal/Mozambique border netting a mere five illegal immigrants.

It appears the Joint Ops illegal immigrant effort is not confined to land borders with neighbouring countries. This, in view of “12 undocumented persons apprehended in Gauteng”.

All told, for June, SANDF border protection efforts netted 642 illegal immigrants, R4.3 million worth of drugs, R1.6 million worth of contraband, and 26 criminals. Excluding the water truck, R1.5 million worth of stolen vehicles were recovered, along with small livestock valued at R252 000.