By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The South African National Defence Forces (SANDEF) on Monday busted vehicle smuggling racket, intercepting two sports utility vehicles which were being smuggled to Zimbabwe through a sandy beach.
Several Zimbabweans and other nationals have been nabbed for trying to smuggle cars stolen in
South Africa through the Beitbridge Border Post into Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and other regional countries.
Reports say vehicle trafficking syndicates smuggle the stolen cars through the Limpopo River where donkeys are used to pull the vehicle across the river into Zimbabwe.
In a statement on Monday, the SANDEF said it impounded a Toyota Fortuner and a Nissan SUV worth half a million rands which were being smuggled into the country through an illegal entry point.
“The SANDEF soldiers deployed at Madimbo Operational Base Intercepted these luxury SUV’s which were about to be smuggled to Zimbabwe by vehicle smugglers,” SANDEF said.
Smuggling of vehicles and other contraband is rampant at the porous Beitbridge Border Post.
Zimbabwe is used as a transit point to smuggle luxury cars from South Africa for resale in other countries in the region.
In 2018, a 63-year-old South African national was sentenced to seven years in jail in Zimbabwe for vehicle smuggling.
Anti-crime operations by local police and soldiers and their counterparts in the neighbouring country have done little to stop the vice.
According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police, an anti-crime operation at the border post that began on January 7 targeting touts and organised criminal gangs involved in the smuggling of goods and other contraband has resulted in the arrest of over 16 000 offenders.
“Police warn members of the public against smuggling goods into the country and entering or exiting through unauthorised points.
“On 27 April 2021, 209 people were arrested for violating immigration laws during operation No to Border Crimes/Mhosva Pamiganhu Ngadzipere/Amacala Kawaphele Emingceleni Yelizwe,” police said.
“Since the onset of the operation on January 7, 2021, 16 069 people have been arrested.”
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