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3 Zimbabweans jailed for smuggling explosives into South Africa

by Staff reporter
20 May 2024 at 07:42hrs | Views
Three Zimbabwean men have been sentenced to a combined total of 51 years in prison for smuggling explosives worth thousands of rand into South Africa and violating the country's immigration laws.

Dube Siyabonga Sibusiso (25), Chuma Temba (38), and Thabo Mokuele (36) were convicted and sentenced by the Musina Regional Court for unlawful possession of explosives and immigration violations related to a crime they committed in 2022.

The trio was arrested by South Africa's specialized crime police, the Hawks. On Friday, Hawks' Limpopo spokesperson, Warrant Officer Lethunya Mmuroa, confirmed the sentences.

"This case received the necessary attention, leading to the conviction and sentencing of the accused as follows: Dube Siyabonga Sibusiso was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for contravention of the Explosives Act 26 of 1956 (unlawful possession of explosives) and 2 years for contravention of the Immigration Act," he stated.

"Chuma Themba and Thabo Mokuele received identical sentences: 15 years for unlawful possession of explosives and 2 years for immigration violations. This totals 51 years of imprisonment collectively."

In September 2022, an off-duty police sergeant at the Beitbridge Port of Entry noticed two men carrying a plastic bag and suspected they might be transporting illegal items. After identifying himself and searching them, he discovered 50 connector capped fuses, 2 reels of detonating fuse, and 11 pieces of 17-meter detonating fuse.

Both men were arrested for unlawful possession of explosives. The Musina-based Hawks' Serious Organised Crime Investigation (SOCI), Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC), and Explosive Section were called to the scene.

During the investigation, it was revealed that the men were Zimbabwean nationals without valid travel documents. They disclosed that the explosives belonged to Thabo Mokuele. Further investigation established that Dube and Chuma had illegally crossed the border through a railway line to Limpopo Truck Park, where Mokuele was also apprehended.

The Hawks' investigation confirmed the explosives were owned by the three accused. A case docket for possession of explosives was opened and registered at Musina SAPS, leading to their arrests and the seizure of the explosives.

Smuggling explosives between Zimbabwe and South Africa is a common issue, with many of these explosives being used for illegal mining activities in the Free State and Gauteng provinces.

Source - the chronicle