The latter part of July saw South African National Defence Force (SANF) soldiers recover bakkies in four different locations on the South Africa/Mozambique border.
Soldiers deployed on this border as part of the national border protection tasking Operation Corona five years ago came up with an innovative and inexpensive way of preventing vehicle thieves moving to the chop-shops and harbours of Mozambique. Excess rock from a quarry was placed along known vehicle smuggling routes to make illegal vehicle border crossings more difficult.
An incident this week saw soldiers arrest the driver of a stolen double cab bakkie. The vehicle was spotted from an observation post while henchmen, believed to be involved in the vehicle theft, cleared a route for it by moving rocks with more “assistants” on the Mozambique side of the border cutting the fence in anticipation of a clean getaway.
When spotted the vehicle thieves opened fire with soldiers returning the favour and wounding the driver. Three others in the double cab escaped.
Both the vehicle and suspect are now in police safekeeping and custody.
The KwaZulu-Natal border with South Africa’s eastern neighbour saw soldiers prevent three similar vehicles illegally leaving the country this month. Collectively the vehicles are conservatively valued at R1.45 million, bringing the total value of vehicle recovered to around the R2 million mark in a matter of days.