Cigarette smuggling continues at Zim-SA border

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

Zimbabwe and South Africa’s security officials have intensified their anti-smuggling drive in the last few weeks as the smuggling of cigarettes between the two nations continues.

On Wednesday, South African police intercepted a contraband of cigarettes worth R150 000 in Musina town.

Criminals moving Zimbabwean tobacco products to South Africa via illegal crossing points are reportedly doing so to evade customs levies. Some syndicates are also greasing the hands of boarder officials to pass through the official port of entry without paying duty.

It is estimated that 30 percent of the cigarettes on the South African market are smuggled from the north of the Limpopo River.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malasela Ledwaba said they are carrying out a multi-disciplinary operation called “Vala Umgodi” to minimise crime at the border and in the province.

“The members of Musina Task Team have confiscated a Toyota pick-up truck and illicit cigarettes with a combined value of more than R350 000 during an intelligence-driven operation that was executed at Matswale Extension 10 on April 24, 2024, at about 14:30pm,” said Colonel Ledwaba.

“The team followed up on valuable information that a male suspect was reportedly driving a Toyota pick-up truck loaded with illicit cigarettes. The motor vehicle was positively spotted at Matswale Extension 10,” he said.

The police then followed the vehicle as it drove towards Matswale.

Upon arrival in the suburb, the suspect discovered that he was being followed by the police and abandoned the car. He unexpectedly jumped over the fence before disappearing into the nearby bushes to evade arrest.

The vehicle was searched and police found 25 boxes and 46 cartoons of Remington Gold cigarettes with an estimated street value of R150 000.

The cigarettes and truck were immediately confiscated.

“A manhunt for the suspect is underway and police request anyone with information that can assist to contact the Investigating Officer, Captain David Mashambe, on +2782 488 3140, the Crime Stop number +278600 10111, the nearest police station or MySAPSApp,” said Colonel Ledwaba.
He said investigations into the matter are underway.

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