Skin lightener smugglers stopped by soldiers


One would imagine after 10 years of border patrols, soldiers have seen it all as far as contraband goes. But no, the newest addition to the contraband list is skin lightening products with over 300 boxes hidden in a truck carrying bran.

Captain A Tamela of Joint Tactical Headquarters, Mpumalanga, reports 7 SA Infantry Battalion soldiers acting on information received, stopped the truck on the N4 in the Komatipoort area for inspection. “The truck was loaded with bran on both sides but had boxes of skin lightening cream in the middle of the load.”

Total estimated value of four different brands of skin lightener is R14 235 600. Brands and numbers confiscated are Betasol (291), Epiderm (36), Diproson (15) and Carolight (five).

Meanwhile, heading north toward the sole port of entry between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Beitbridge, soldiers (unit not specified) intercepted a pair of Toyota Hilux bakkies east of the port of entry at Echo Station 2.

Desperate to escape, the vehicles were, according to Captain Moses Semono of Limpopo Joint Tactical Headquarters, “just driven” into the Limpopo River with no regard for value. It is not clear if the drivers were apprehended by soldiers, fell prey to crocodiles or made it safety to the Southern African country ruled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Police were summoned to assist with recovery of the vehicles, jointly valued at R1.2 million, and they are currently impounded awaiting proof of ownership.

Also in the Beitbridge area of operations, another patrol, this time with police canine elements involved, confiscated illicit cigarettes valued at just on R730 000 from  a R350 000 vehicle.

Moving further west to the Dongola Kop area, soldiers again dented illicit cigarette smuggling operations when they intercepted R287 047 worth of tobacco products.