BY REX MPHISA
GOVERNMENT said it would remove illegal settlers who have camped along the banks of the Limpopo River in a bid to deal with smuggling syndicates and illegal cross-border activities.
Police Deputy Commissioner Bozibi Dube told stakeholders during a meeting last week that the operation would include pulling down all shacks built by illegal settlers.
Dube said goods and vehicles used in smuggling would be confiscated, adding that government would also deploy “disciplined” security forces at the border.
“We are meeting stakeholders in order to come up with a way forward. We do not expect villagers to assist smugglers and we will confiscate scotch carts and any tools used for smuggling,” Dube said.
Some stakeholders had also complained that rogue soldiers and police officers deployed at the border post were engaging in smuggling activities, and were also harassing and robbing people.
“We have asked villagers to desist from receiving payment to facilitate smuggling. Villagers have been assisting smuggling by providing scotch carts which we will confiscate if found on the wrong side,” he said.
Beitbridge East MP Albert Nguluvhe, who attended the meeting, said he was worried about reports of police brutality.
“We also realised that most people who built structures along the river to facilitate smuggling are not Beitbridge residents per se. They camp here to get cheaper goods in South Africa,” Nguluvhe said.
Some of the goods that are being smuggled to South Africa include cigarettes and illicit beer; while a variety of grocery items are smuggled into Zimbabwe.
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