Soldiers confiscate illegal alcohol and cigarettes worth millions on SA borders


Cigarettes and alcohol conservatively valued at over R2 million was confiscated by soldiers doing border protection in April, an additional indicator the South African black market for these currently banned goods is growing.

The border protection tasking Operation Corona currently has 15 companies deployed along South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Statistics supplied by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations Division operational communications from various joint tactical headquarters and operational units shows the April “harvest” of illegal cigarettes was conservatively worth R1,6 million. This is substantially more than the R1,07 million reported in March for all contraband, including alcohol and cigarettes, confiscated by soldiers mainly along South Africa’s borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Illicit liquor worth R46 700 was taken from smugglers and handed to police for destruction in April.

Narcotics are regularly encountered by soldiers on foot or mounted patrols, either in soft-skin vehicles or off-road motorcycles, at intelligence identified hotspots.

April was no exception with dagga worth just over R2 million taken from smugglers and heroin value at R600 00 now out of users’ reach.

The breaching of a still under erection portion of security fence adjacent to the Beit Bridge port of entry in March stretched deployed military resources on borders even further. This after Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille reportedly asked Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for extra patrols to ensure the joint completed fence upgrade, part of government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, remained intact.