South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on Operation Corona border patrol duties have once again recorded big successes in securing South Africa’s borders, confiscating illegal and stolen goods worth more than R16 million in three separate incidents.
The SANDF’s Joint Operations division said soldiers deployed in Mpumalanga on 25 May recorded their first success in the early hours of the morning when troops in the Zonstraal Area of Responsibility were called upon to reinforce the SA Police Service, which was in pursuit of three vehicles suspected of transporting a dagga consignment. They managed to stop a Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Hilux bakkie and a Hyundai vehicle about 500 metres from the Waverley Port of Entry with eSwatini. The search of the vehicles revealed a 9 mm pistol with three 9 mm rounds and 42 bags of dagga wrapped in plastic bags.
Two South African males and one eSwatini male were arrested during the joint operation. The dagga consignment weighed in at 502.38 kg and was valued at R1.5 million. The confiscated dagga and vehicles were handed over to Mayflower SA Police Service.
The second incident was registered later in the day at about 09:00 in the Macadamia Area of Responsibility in the Mubuzini area. During a routine foot patrol, South African soldiers came across two unidentified males crossing into South Africa through the South Africa/Mozambique border fence. On approach by the patrolling soldiers, the suspects dropped their bags and ran back towards the Mozambican side. The seven plastic bags left behind by the fleeing suspects were searched and found to contain second-hand clothing to the value of R5 000. The bags of clothing were handed over to Lebombo SA Revenue Service.
The third incident occurred in the Schoemansdal area, also within the Macadamia Area of Responsibility, at about 13:30 in the afternoon. During another joint operation with the Schoemansdal SA Police Service, two SA National Defence Force Sections from Macadamia Base proceeded to Buffelspruit after receiving a tip-off by the SA Police Service about an identified dagga plantation in the area.
On arrival, soldiers discovered four dagga plantations at Buffelspruit in the Moloti Section. A total of 41 816 dagga plants with a total monetary value of R14 635 600 (R350 per plant) were removed and burned after handing over to the Schoemansdal SA Police Service. The successes of the day took the SA National Defence Force’s total successes since the start of their tour of duty in March to just over R30 million, the SANDF said.