That border protection is not only preventing people from illegally entering South Africa comes from the Lesotho/Free State border where diamonds valued at more than R3 million, R800 000 worth of dagga and two stolen vehicles were seized by soldiers.
Units currently deployed on this land border are Alpha Squadron of 1 SA Tank Regiment and 101 Battery of 10 Air Defence Artillery. They are under the command of Joint Tactical Headquarters in Bloemfontein and have the same mandate as their colleagues who find themselves on any of South Africa’s other landward borders with Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Their orders are to execute border protection and safeguarding duties and stop, among others, illegal crossing by undocumented people and to confiscate goods ranging from narcotics through liquor, cigarettes and clothes as well as stolen vehicles, livestock, firearms and ammunition.
Colonel Jan Andreas of the tactical headquarters said soldiers stopped two undocumented men, apparently Lesotho nationals, while on a regular patrol. Closer examination revealed neither of them had correct documentation allowing entry into South Africa and a search brought to light more than 300 diamonds with a value of R3,2 million. Both were arrested and the diamonds confiscated.
A mobile patrol last week saw a suspicious vehicle stopped between Dunse and Wilgedraai. The soldiers’ suspicions proved correct when a search of the vehicle revealed 15 bags of dagga with a street value of R800 000. Two South Africans were apprehended and handed to police.
Following up on information received from the SAPS vehicle theft unit, soldiers found two vehicles stuck in the Caledon River near Smokkeldraai. Both were received and found to have been stolen from Reitz High School. Four more vehicles were handed to Ladybrand police because chassis numbers had been tampered with.