Smuggles defy SA-Zimbabwe border closure


Tobacco Pacific-Blue

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) ZIMBABWEAN police have intensified a crackdown against smugglers operating along the Limpopo River bordering South Africa.

These illegal schemes have proliferated in defiance of the restrictions imposed by the two governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Southern African region.

In the latest breakthrough, Zimbabwean law enforcers have arrested 13 suspects for allegedly smuggling vast amounts of fuel from South Africa.

Police conducting patrols at the Beitbridge border post, where the Limpopo River flows, arrested the individuals with the commodity that is in scarce supply in Zimbabwe

“At the time of arrest, 125 litres of fuel destined for the black market was recovered by police from one of the suspects,” Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, said.

The suspect and 12 alleged accomplices have been charged with violating COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

Authorities have slapped an extra charge on the owner of the vehicle, that of illegally importing the fuel.

The Beitbridge border post, the busiest point of entry in Sub-Saharan Africa was closed at the end of March following the outbreak of the virus.

It is only open for essential travel and shipments.

However, there have been reports of illegal travel and smuggling owing to its porous nature.

Criminals have damaged the R37 million, 40 kilometre fence recently erected on the South African side to fortify security at the border.

It is widely believed most of the cigarettes being sold in South Africa come from Zimbabwe, a country which is the top tobacco producing nation in the African continent.

– CAJ News

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