Soldiers kept busy stopping illegal immigrants


Soldiers stopped over 800 Basuto from illegally entering South Africa via landlocked Lesotho’s borders with Free State and Eastern Cape in July – the largest undocumented person influx from one country in the month.

Eight hundred and seven Basuto were handed to police and Department of Home Affairs immigration officers in Eastern Cape with a further 39 of their countrymen and women prevented from reaching destinations in South Africa by soldiers after illegally crossing the Free State/Lesotho border.

Mozambicans seeking am illegal better life in South Africa were the second largest number of illegal immigrants stopped by soldiers on the border protection tasking Operation Corona in July. Seven hundred and twenty-five Mozambicans found themselves – briefly – in the custody of armed soldiers after unsuccessfully attempting the Mpumalanga border crossing between the two countries with another seven intercepted by soldiers on the KwaZulu-Natal/Mozambique border.

Zimbabwe was also a “big” contributor to illegal immigration with 264 of its citizens caught attempting to enter South Africa at various places along the Limpopo border. Eighty Batswana had their illegal South Africa entry efforts nipped in the bud by soldiers deployed in North West.

Soldiers also prevented various narcotics, including dagga valued at R1.1 million, from Zimbabwe reaching South African users with a further R120 000 worth of Mozambican dagga also confiscated. On the Lesotho/South Africa border in the Eastern Cape, soldiers took R31 900 worth of dagga from drug smugglers.

All told soldiers prevented 13 vehicles, mostly bakkies and high-end sports utilities, from illegally exiting South Africa in July.

The first week of August has been auspicious, particularly for gunners from 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment on the South Africa/Zimbabwe border.

Their haul to date this month includes what customs and revenue officials identified as gold detectors usually found on mines. The Minelab GPX 11 and 17 equipment is said to be worth just on R11 000. A pair of Toyotas – a Fortuner and a Hilux – along with 22 master boxes of illicit cigarettes (value R293 700) now feature on the unit’s brag board.