The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has handed over 25 specialised patrol vehicles to soldiers to enforce patrol at the Beitbridge border line between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The new vehicles will assist in preventing the smuggling of stolen vehicles and other goods to Zimbabwe. Car smugglers are using the porous border fence and the sandy river.
There is no need now for the soldiers to drive back to their camps if they experience challenges out in the bush. One of the cars has been fitted with technological gadgets that cover a distance of over 600 kilometres for the two-way radios.
The smuggling of cars, cigarettes, drugs and other goods has become a common occurrence between Pondrift, Musina and Madimbo. Tactical commander at the SANDF, Colonel Joseph Tshugulu says the soldiers are now a step ahead of the smugglers.
” We were operating with old vehicles and we could not meet the speed that these smugglers were doing so with these one I think it will seriously enhance the mobility in a short space of time. The number of soldiers we are having here can not cover the whole area so with this kind of mobility and planning I think it is going to curb the illegal activities along the border,” he said.
Some car owners in Musina and from some parts of the country have lost their cars in the hands of criminals who smuggle them to Zimbabwe. The chairperson of the Community Policing Forum in Musina, Jacob Matakanye says the new vehicles will be of assistance as the community is living in fear.
” What I have seen today from the demonstration by the army if they get these resources they do their job properly. They can curb this kind of crime but the issue is for them to reinforce what they are having last week 5 cars have been smuggled it seems we still have the problem.”
The cars have been allocated to the three units operating along the border with Zimbabwe.