Lockdown regulations in South Africa have seen an increase in demand for products currently not available, with the national border protection tasking reporting a half a million Rand increase in the value of contraband seized last month compared with March 2019.
Statistics from the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) show contraband, including cigarettes, other tobacco products and alcohol, conservatively valued at R1,07 million was confiscated by patrolling soldiers on South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe between 1 and 31 March. This is R472 063 more in Rand terms than the previous March.
At the same time it appears lockdown protocols and regulations, whether in South Africa or its neighbours, has not affected the efforts of dagga smugglers.
A patrol from the 4 Artillery Regiment company doing Operation Corona duty on the eSwatini/South Africa border reported two successful recent dagga busts.
In the first, dagga with a mass of 108 kg and an estimated street value of more than R320 000 was “found” at Mshololo. The platoon on patrol saw two suspects crossing the Eswatini/South Africa border leaving their “cargo” behind in a successful escape attempt back into the landlocked kingdom.
Days earlier Section 2 of the same regiment’s Alpha Company platoon 3 was on a planned foot patrol in the Belgrade area when another large “stash” of dagga was found. All told 62 kg of dagga with an estimated street value of close to R190 000 was seized by the gunners. As per standard operating procedure the haul will be handed to police for investigation and disposal.