Op Corona still reeling in contraband and illegal immigrants


The thin camouflage line that is the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Operation Corona border protection tasking has had a good first quarter confiscating contraband valued at over R31 million as well as dagga worth just on R3 million and stopping the illegal migration of nine thousand plus people.

By far the largest portion of contraband seized was a truck-load of trainers and running shoes valued at about R23 million at the Lebombo point of entry (POE) late in January.

The feeling “something’s not right” proved correct for a pair of South African military police attached to 2 SA Infantry Battalion. A covered truck was searched and found to be packed with trainers and running shoes, including Adidas, All Star, Nike and Puma brands. More than 29 000 pairs of trainers were confiscated.

Three Mozambicans were interviewed by South African police soon after the haul was uncovered but at this time of publication there was no further information available on the investigation’s progress.

Soldiers deployed along South Africa’s border with Lesotho as part of the border protection tasking seized dagga valued at R2.9 million in the first three months of the year. The value of the contraband is based on a street price of R1 000 per kg.

Another border contravention, this one particular to the Lesotho/South Africa border, is illegal grazing with Lesotho cattle farmers trying to boost their livestock’s intake by moving them across the border and onto South African farmland.

A total of 393 cattle were rounded up in South Africa and driven back across the border.

Statistics submitted by the various units deployed on Operation Corona to date this year show 9 409 illegal immigrants were apprehended and handed to police and Home Affairs officials. By far the majority were from Mozambique with Zimbabwe and Lesotho making up the remainder.

The first quarter of this year has also seen an additional company deployed in the Rooibokkraal area of Limpopo on border protection with a reaction force in place in the Bergville/Himeville area of KwaZulu-Natal to cover the Lesotho border.