Zim man jailed two years for smuggling cigarettes into SA
Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A 48-year-old Zimbabwean man has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for smuggling cigarettes worth R416 070 into South Africa.
Max Chingachirere was arrested on September 22, by the police in Roedtan under Waterberg District after his vehicle was found loaded with illicit cigarettes.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba confirmed the development on Friday.
He said the accused made numerous court appearances until he was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of R300 000,00 or two years imprisonment for possession of illicit cigarettes.
The man was fined R5000,00 or six months’ imprisonment for violation of the Immigration Act.
Brig Mashaba said following his arrest, the case was transferred to the Provincial Organized Unit for further probe which resulted in his conviction and sentencing.
The smuggling of cigarettes from Zimbabwe into South Africa through illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River is rife which has seen security agents from both countries tightening screws.
It is estimated that at least 30 percent of cigarettes on the South African market are smuggled from Zimbabwe.
These include the Pacific, Remington Gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson and Servilles brands.
Ideally, a box of cigarettes is bought at US$120 from local producers and sold for between US$250 and US$300 to the syndicates who then smuggle them into South Africa where they sell for anything above R15 000.
Those who illegally transport the commodity across borders are paid between R100 and R300 per box and in most cases, this is done under the cover of darkness.