Illegal importers of dagga found themselves short of almost 500 kg of the psychoactive drug following two separate seizures by soldiers deployed on border protection.
In the first on the KwaZulu-Natal/Lesotho border, a company from the Rand Light Infantry Regiment, working with police in the Hoffenthal district of the coastal province, apprehended four men with 30 bags of dagga on 8 February. According to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) corporate relations directorate the dagga, with a mass of 461 kg, can be conservatively valued at almost R700 000.
The second bust took place on the northern side of KwaZulu-Natal where Bravo Company of 1 Tank Regiment is currently deployed as part of the national border protection tasking Operation Corona.
While on a foot patrol in the Mzitangu area near the eSwatini border, soldiers found and confiscated a 35kg bag of dagga with an estimated value or R75 000.
The major part of Operation Corona is to apprehend undocumented persons and hand them to police and the Department of Home Affairs for further processing and return to their countries of origin. The Operation Corona remit has grown to include confiscation of drugs, liquor, cigarettes as well as fake trainers labelled Nike, Adidas, Converse or other designer brands, clothing and cosmetics. All these products are sold illegally without the necessary import and other taxes paid, mostly in township spaza shops depriving the national fiscus of revenue legally due to it.