Limpopo police concerned about increase in smuggling of stolen goods, vehicles at Beit Bridge border

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Limpopo Police Commissioner has expressed concern about the escalation of smuggling of vehicles and illegal cigarettes from either the South African or Zimbabwean side.

On Friday, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe took part in a crime prevention operation on the N1 road between Musina and the Beit Bridge border post.

She claims that the operation is intended to reduce goods smuggling.

A crime prevention campaign was carried out in Musina and the surrounding area of the Beit Bridge border post by police and other law enforcement agencies. This is due to an increase in the smuggling of stolen goods, including vehicles, from the South African side to the Zimbabwean side.

Earlier this month, a vehicle worth about R3-million was impounded while being smuggled into Zimbabwe. Limpopo Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Thembi Hadebe, says they want to curb illegal activities.

“These roadblocks are aimed at curbing the illegal crossing that is happening from us to Zim and from Zim to us.  There is an illegal crossing of all stolen vehicles that cross the river, and there is a lot of illegal cigarettes traffic on this particular road.  There was a 3-million Mercedes Benz that was impounded trying to cross the border.”

Some motorists have expressed mixed reactions to the crime prevention operation by law enforcement agencies in and around the Beit Bridge border post in Musina.

“I think this should be roughly more often and it should be done frequently that will stop a lot of crime and lot of problems in our community. I feel pain because we cannot work well, I came here because my driver is arrested just because of his passport. The police are preventing anything that can happen.”

Some taxi drivers say the stop and search operation at roadblocks affects their businesses. Eric Ndadza says whenever there is a crime prevention, the number of commuters declines, as most are undocumented foreign nationals.

“This operation is affecting us a lot because we are unable to travel to Joburg when police arrived at the taxi rank our customers are running away to go to locations and hiding in the bush.”

More than 100 people were arrested at the stop-and-search operation for various offences — including fraud. -Additional reporting by Pimani Baloyi