SARS Customs intensify searches at borders

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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs is intensifying it search in all the country’s borders with more criminal cases opened against suspects for allegedly being in possession of explosives and illicit cigarettes.

The customs officers recently made busts of capped fused explosives, as well as illicit cigarettes, at the Beitbridge border post.

A foreign registered panel van travelling from Zimbabwe to South Africa was on 19 July 2018 intercepted by customs officers for a random search.

When conducting the physical search of the vehicle, all the passengers were ordered to go through the customs red and green channels.

During the search, officers found two bags that were left unattended in the panel van. When the driver was questioned about the bags, he claimed to not know who the owner was.

Customs officers searched the bags in the presence of the driver and found 300 units of suspected cables of explosives valued at approximately R75 000.

The South African Police Services and its bomb squad were immediately called to identify the explosives.

A criminal case was opened and a foreign Zimbabwean national and the explosives were handed over to the police. The panel van was detained and placed into the SARS state warehouse.

In another bust that took place on 21 July 2018, a random search of a bus by customs officers led to the discovery of cartons of Pacific Blue cigarettes totalling 3 997 hidden within 40 bags.

The estimated street value of the cigarettes is approximately R966 915.
“The bags allegedly belonged to a Zimbabwean national passenger. The goods were declared to customs officers as 500 brooms packed in 40 bags in the bus trailer. Upon physical inspection, it was discovered that illicit cigarettes were concealed under the brooms.
“The police were called to the scene and a criminal case was opened. The passenger was handed over to the police and the bus was released after all necessary processes were completed,” said Sicelo Mkosi from SARS.



Mkosi noted that searches by custom officers have been intensified beyond airports but also in border ports of the country.