South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on border patrol have seized over R1 million worth of illicit cigarettes from smugglers in Limpopo, days after recovering R6 million worth of cigarettes in separate hauls.
Captain Moses Semono reports for Joint Operations Tactical Headquarters Limpopo that members of Bambatha Rifles, deployed in Limpopo under Operation Corona, were out on a vehicle patrol when they came across a suspicious SUV near Musina. The vehicle, a Hyundai Tucson, was flagged down and after stopping the vehicle, the driver fled.
Further investigation revealed that the vehicle was loaded with R339 904 worth of illicit cigarettes. The vehicle is valued at R319 000. Both the vehicle and cigarettes were handed over to the SA Revenue Service and South African Police Service.
Meanwhile, soldiers busy with waylay operations at Pafuri Poppalin Ranch east of Musina near the South Africa/Zimbabwe border, spotted suspicious people carrying back-packs crossing into South Africa. Upon approaching the suspects, they dropped their bags and ran back to Zimbabwe.
Soldiers found the backpacks contained illicit cigarettes valued at R1 253 999 and these were also handed over to SARS and the SAPS.
The Officer Commanding Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo, Colonel Choene Samuel Mabotja, commended the soldiers for their continued commitment to keeping South African borders safe.
Earlier in the month, members of Bambatha Rifles recovered R6.5 million worth of illicit cigarettes that were being smuggled in four vehicles near Musina.