Soldiers stop six thousand plus illegal immigrants in December


The presence of soldiers to, amongst others, deter and prevent illegal immigration on South Africa’s landward borders, appears to be working when taking latest available statistics into account.

Soldiers doing the Operation Corona border protection duty tasking in December handed 6 605 undocumented persons to police and Department of Home Affairs immigration officials for processing to return to their country of origin.

This is 3 665 more than were arrested by police between 1 and 29 December as part of SA Police Service (SAPS) nationwide Safer Festive Season operations.

By far the majority of foreigners – 3 618 – attempting to enter South Africa illegally in December came from Mozambique with Lesotho at 2 422 a distant second. The Directorate Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said in response to a defenceWeb inquiry that 2 275 the Basuto were intercepted along the Free State border with the landlocked mountain kingdom with soldiers patrolling the Lesotho/Eastern Cape border netting 147 Basuto illegals.

Five hundred and thirty-nine Zimbabweans were prevented from illegally accessing South Africa with another 18 undocumented foreigners stopped from entering the country via the Eswatini and KwaZulu-Natal borders with Mozambique.

The SAPS statistics give only the total number of illegal immigrants with no breakdown of either provinces, major urban or other areas. In its statement on Safer Festive Season operations, SAPS notes men and women in blue uniforms focussed on gender based violence and femicide (GBVF), preventing and combating aggravated armed robberies, enhancing border security, enforcing legislation and bylaws as well as road safety.

“The addition of more boots on the ground following the deployment of 10 000 newly trained constables, SAPS was hard at work heightening police visibility through integrated and joint law enforcement crime combatting operations including patrols, stop and searches, roadblocks and tracing wanted suspects,” the SAPS statement has it.

Worth noting in Operation Corona December statistics is confiscation of R1.4 million plus of illegal drugs, most of its dagga but also crystal meth taken from smugglers along the Free Stater/Lesotho border.

With regard to livestock, DCC reported that on Lesotho’s border with the Free State, soldiers stopped 10 cattle and 101 “small stock” – goats and sheep – from illegally ingesting South African grass.

All told, soldiers prevented 13 vehicles being taken out of the country with Mozambique the majority offender in December. Eight vehicles were saved from chop shops and illegal sales in the southern African country.