Wildlife, bribery and cigarettes part of latest Op Corona successes


Confronting bribery, illicit cigarettes and illegally hunted wildlife was all in a day’s work for South African soldiers deployed on Operation Corona border protection duty.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) this week said a stock theft case was opened against two suspects after animals were found dead in their vehicle. In a joint operation between Limpopo Customs K9 unit and the SA National Defence Force Reaction Force, a suspicious vehicle was stopped on the R572, and while searching the vehicle, another vehicle approached and when it noticed the uniformed members, it made a U-turn. The members pursued and managed to stop the vehicle.

When the vehicle stopped, three passengers, including the driver, jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the bush. Security forces managed to apprehend two of the suspects. Upon searching the vehicle, an Impala ram valued at R2 480, an Impala ewe valued at R2 070 and a Brown Hyena (the rarest species of hyena) valued at R34 466 were found dead in the vehicle. SAPS stock theft was called and a case was opened. The vehicle and animals were handed over to SA Police Service. The value of the vehicle is R180 000, according to Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo.

In another incident, near the Beitbridge Port of Entry, SANDF soldiers arrested a suspect who was trying to bribe them with cash amounting to R85 710 and $51 (US dollars). “The suspect tried to organise for future smuggling. The suspect and money were handed over to the SAPS for further investigation,” the SANDF said.

The SANDF once again confiscated illicit cigarettes that were trying to be smuggled into South Africa. On 6 June, soldiers seized 17 master boxes and 47 cartons of illicit cigarettes valued at R251 581 and in a separate incident, during a joint intervention between the SANDF and Customs officials, 49 master cartons, 16 cartons and five loose packets of illegal cigarettes were intercepted on Ludwigslust farm near Pontdrift close to R572 road before the consignment could be loaded onto the vehicles. The cigarettes seized in this operation were valued at R692 449.