BEITBRIDGE – The introduction of helicopter patrols by security officials has resulted in reduced cases of smuggling along the country’s border with South Africa.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police were clamping hard on criminals among them smugglers and border jumpers who are in the habit of using informal borders.
He said on Tuesday the security team on aerial patrol intercepted contraband of 180 boxes of cigarettes worth millions of dollars in export duty that were being smuggled into South Africa near Dite area.
A box of cigarettes is sold for around R6000 on the local market and an average of between R15 000 and R25 000 depending on the brand in South Africa.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the gang dumped their contraband comprising 120 boxes of Remmington Gold and 60 boxes of Express Royale Cigarettes and escaped to South Africa upon spotting the security helicopter.
“We are not going back with this operation “No to Cross-border Crimes’”.
As the police, we encourage travellers and importers/exports to use formal borders rather than choosing to break the law.
Let me warn such people that we will not fold our hands and allow lawlessness,” he said.
He said the intensified patrols were gradually restoring sanity along the country’s border with its southern neighbour.
Government deployed the national security task force to Beitbridge in January to boost its capacity to deal with cross-border related crimes.
Prior to the latest move, Government was losing a lot of potential revenue in import/export duties.
The task force, among other things, is making use of drones, helicopters, and motorised patrols along the Limpopo River. – Herald