An SA Police Service (SAPS) operation aimed specifically at the prevention of cross-border crimes on the country’s northern boundaries this week saw two suspects arrested in connection with vehicle theft.
According to government news agency SAnews, the operation is known as Vala Madi and has been underway since at least December last year when a stolen vehicle being ferried across the Limpopo River was intercepted.
The past week saw two arrests in connection with smuggling, the agency said.
“Members of the Tactical Response Team, Public Order Police Unit and K9 Unit, supported by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), intercepted a Range Rover valued at R900 000 en route to Malawi. The driver was arrested and an amount of R30 000 was found in his possession, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo is reported by SAnewss as having said.
It appears the same team received a vehicle stuck in “the middle of the Limpopo River”. According to SAnews it was a white Mercedes-Benz belonging to a rental company and was stolen in Durban. It was apparently being “smuggled” into Zimbabwe by a 28-year-old suspect.
A Ford Ranger bakkie was also intercepted by a Vala Madi team but no arrests were made because suspects “fled into the bushes when police pounced on them”.
Three more stolen vehicles were seized on the N1 north of Musina during this week.
The operation targets the borderline between Pafuri, Beit Bridge and Pontdrift.
According to SAnews, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is “encouraged” by the successes recorded by Vala Madi.
“I am motivated by the work of the SAPS and its units in the fight against crime. With a recent major drug bust in Soweto and the Vala Madi operation, police are squeezing the space of criminals. They must not feel safe at our borders,” Mbalula is reported as saying.