South African national Karl Herbst, 27, and two Zimbabweans Nkosiyabo Mbambo, 29, and Nomathemba Ncube, 40, were arrested in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday for allegedly smuggling vehicles worth R2 million from South Africa.
Police in Bulawayo said they first arrested Mbambo during a random patrol and he led them to his alleged accomplices.
“Traffic police were patrolling the city and spotted Mlambo driving a South African registered Toyota Hilux GD6. Upon demanding papers for the car, it was discovered there were irregularities,” said police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube.
Mbambo then led the police to Herbst and Ncube, who were staying at a local lodge, where they had parked another Toyota Hilux GD6 and a Toyota Fortuner GD6.
Through investigations, it was found the cars came into Zimbabwe via South Africa. It is suspected the trio could be part of a bigger racket.
“More charges could be brought up as we try to understand how the cars were acquired. For now, we are treating them as car smugglers,” Ncube said.
During previous arrests, the Zimbabwe Republic Police established cars, which were smuggled across the Limpopo River, had their tyres deflated to make the crossing easier.
Some stolen vehicles are reportedly transported as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Malawi.
In September 2021, nine SA National Defence Force members were arrested for allegedly being part of a racket smuggling stolen cars into Zimbabwe.
The soldiers allegedly shared R15 000 for each vehicle that crossed the border.