HomeLocal NewsSA soldiers confiscate illicit Zim cigarettes worth R1m

SA soldiers confiscate illicit Zim cigarettes worth R1m



SOUTH African soldiers have confiscated cigarettes worth R1 million smuggled from Zimbabwe.

Reports indicate that smuggling cartels work in cahoots with immigration officials and security agencies patrolling the Beitbridge Border Post.

The cigarettes were confiscated by South African soldiers manning Vula Vala gate on the South African side of the border.

“Members of the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) were busy with a standing patrol at Vula Vala gate on the Republic of South Africa and Zimbabwean border when they confiscated a VW Amarok vehicle valued at R500 000, which was carrying illicit cigarettes valued at
R845 560 according to the SA Revenue Service Customs and the SA Police Service.

“Both the vehicle and cigarettes were handed over to South Africa Revenue Service Customs,” a statement by SANDF captain M E Semono from the Joint Tactical Headquarters in Limpopo province read in part.

Media reports indicate that cigarette smuggling is fuelled by repressive customs laws in the neighbouring country, which make it difficult for Zimbabweans to export cigarettes to South Africa.

The ban on tobacco sales in South Africa is a blessing in disguise for cigarette smugglers. It was estimated that 30% of cigarettes in South Africa are from Zimbabwe, including Pacific, Remington Gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson, and Servilles.

A box of cigarettes costs US$120 from local producers and is sold for between US$250 and US$300 to the syndicates, who then smuggle it to South Africa, where they sell it for anything above R20 000.

On Sunday, Police in Bulawayo impounded a South Africa-registered truck carrying smuggled groceries and other goods.

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