Small drop in number of illegal immigrants nabbed by soldiers in April


April saw a drop of 273 illegal immigrants stopped by soldiers on South Africa’s land borders compared to March when 1 443 were handed to police and immigration authorities.

Monthly statistics for Operation Corona gathered and collated by the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) show the majority of people attempting in April to illegally enter South Africa – 577 – were from Mozambique followed by 468 Zimbabweans. Mozambicans apprehended by soldiers are 368 less than in March while the number of Zimbabweans is 42 less.

Notable in the April figures is the number of Batswana – 39 – stopped by soldiers with 22 Namibians handed to either police or Department of Home Affairs (DHA) immigration officials. In March soldiers deployed along the Botswana border detained 11 “undocumented persons”, equating to an over threefold increase.

As ever, drugs and narcotics are regularly confiscated from smugglers with Mozambican smugglers losing R2.09 million in potential revenue in the form of 495 kg of dagga now either destroyed or awaiting destruction while in police safekeeping.

Lesotho is a known grower and supplier of dagga to South African users with soldiers on the mountain kingdom’s Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal borders having to give up over 63 kg of dagga, conservatively valued at R315 900, to soldiers on stop and search patrols.

The number of vehicles – 10 – prevented from illegal “export” in April was six less than in March. All told the recovered vehicles, with no details of make, model or type given, are valued at just under R3 million.

The border protection tasking sees 15 companies of mainly infantry – regular and reserves – deployed on South Africa’s terrestrial borders to, among others, maintain the country’s territorial integrity. It costs about a billion rand a year to keep this ongoing operation running, Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) heard in March this year.