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SA authorities launch 'Operation Vala Umgodi' along the Limpopo River

by Staff reporter
11 Mar 2024 at 16:37hrs | Views
THE smuggling of goods between Zimbabwe and South Africa has become a perennial headache forcing authorities in both countries to tighten screws on crime and at times running collaborative operations.

The most smuggled goods into South Africa are cigarettes and explosives while drugs, firearms, banned goods, and stolen vehicles are finding their way into Zimbabwe.

Government has since deployed more security on its border with South Africa and is also making use of drone surveillance technology to reduce the vice.

The drones, electronic cargo tracking systems, fast cargo scanners and the canine unit were launched by Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube in January this year at the Beitbridge Border Post.

He said under the new order, authorities will be able to increase surveillance in all hotspot areas and minimise the loss of revenue that is critical in funding government commitments.

The drones, ECTS and fast scanners, he said, will soon be deployed to other ports of entry/exit including Forbes and Chirundu.

Limpopo spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS), Colonel Malasela Ledwaba said in a statement on Tuesday that they were running "Operation Vala Umgodi" to reduce crime at the border and the entire province.

"A successful operation conducted by the Border Police team at Musina in the Vhembe District near the Beitbridge Port of Entry on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024, has resulted in the seizure of counterfeit goods and the recovery of an inflatable boat believed to be used for illegal crossings of the Limpopo River between Zimbabwe and South Africa," said Col Ledwaba.

"During the operation, members of the SAPS OR Tambo International Airport Border Police intercepted a smuggling attempt and seized one inflatable boat, 25 litres of diesel, counterfeit cigarettes, and liquor that were being smuggled between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"Despite some suspects managing to evade arrest by fleeing on foot and crossing the Limpopo River, homemade wooden bridges used for illegal crossings were successfully dismantled during the operation".

He said in a separate incident, nine Zimbabwean men were arrested by the Vhembe District Proactive Police for contravening immigration Act during a separate Vala Umgodi operation.

These individuals, Col Ledwaba said, were arrested less than 10 kilometres from Beitbridge Border Post.

He said the Department of Home Affairs Immigration Office was engaged for immediate deportation of the illegal immigrants.

Source - The Chronicle
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