South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on Operation Corona border patrol have in one week recovered millions of Rands worth of stolen vehicles along with drugs and cigarettes that were being smuggled across the border.
Captain Moses Semono reported for Joint Operations Tactical Headquarters Limpopo that members of the Bambatha Rifles were responsible for these border protection successes.
In one incident, soldiers on foot patrol at Vula-Vala gate on the border with Zimbabwe, came across a suspicious Toyota Fortuner and upon flagging it down, the vehicle accelerated towards the Limpopo River.
The soldiers shot at its wheels, and it came to a halt after getting stuck in the sand. The vehicle, valued at R219 000, was handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) at Tshamutumbu Police Station.
In an almost identical situation elsewhere along the border, soldiers who were busy with a waylay operation confiscated a Fortuner valued at R579 000, also after being forced to shoot at its wheels in order to bring it to a halt. The vehicle was abandoned by its driver after it got stuck in the Limpopo River bed.
The vehicle was then handed over to the South African Revenue Service/Customs. In another operation, jointly carried out with members from the South African Revenue Service, Bambatha Rifles members, acting on a tipoff, confiscated illicit cigarettes valued at R1.8 million.
However, no one was apprehended. Semono reported that at the Beitbridge Port of Entry, soldiers arrested 14 undocumented persons and on searching them, one was found in possession of dagga valued at R16 000 by the SA Revenue Service.
The Acting Officer Commanding Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo, Lieutenant Colonel Frans Lechuti, congratulated Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Ramotsamai, the Officer Commanding Bambatha Rifles on the huge success of his men and women in camouflage, Semono concluded.