South Africa News

20 high-powered vehicles worth R17 million stolen in Gauteng, intercepted by police in Limpopo

Commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has saluted the anti-smuggling task team in the province “for their exceptional dedication and performance” in combating illicit activities and intercepting numerous stolen vehicles heading towards the Beitbridge port of entry.

The dedicated task team has scored several victories since its inception in December 2023.

“The team, comprising of specialised detectives, has been instrumental in disrupting smuggling operations and seizing vehicles worth millions of rands,” said provincial police spokesperson in Limpopo, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba.

He said through strategic interventions and collaborative efforts with different stakeholders, such as private security companies, the police task team has demonstrated unparalleled dedication and commitment in rooting out the smuggling of stolen vehicles out of South Africa.

“A total of 23 suspects were arrested and 20 high-powered 4×4 vehicles worth approximately R17 million were seized. The vehicles were all robbed in Gauteng province and were intercepted at various parts of the province en-route to be smuggled through the Beitbridge (port of entry) and other port of entry,” said Mashaba.

In a recent incident, the publication reported last week that police in Limpopo on Thursday intercepted and arrested a 36-year-old man who was heading to Beitbridge port of entry, from Gauteng.

The man driving the stolen Toyota RAV4 was intercepted at Mall of the North in Polokwane. The recovered Toyota sport utility vehicle was reportedly stolen in Silverton, east of Tshwane.

On the same day, Mashaba said a 31-year-old man was intercepted in Musina, driving a Ford Ranger bakkie, loaded with 10 boxes, each containing 50 bottles of Broncleer medication, with codeine cough syrup.

The Ford Ranger vehicle was heading to the Beitbridge port of entry, apparently to smuggle the medication – infamous for being used as a drug – into the neighbouring Zimbabwe.

“Police also confiscated illicit cigarettes with an estimated street value of R150,000 at Matswale extension 10 following a tip-off. Upon arrival at the said address, police found the vehicle matching the description but the driver was nowhere to be found. It (the loaded vehicle) was then searched and 25 master boxes of Remington and 46 cartoons of cigarettes were found loaded inside the Toyota (Hilux) GD6,” said Mashaba.

The Toyota Hilux and the illicit cigarettes consignment were seized by police.

Meanwhile, provincial commissioner Hadebe has extended gratitude to all the members of the anti-smuggling task team for the ongoing efforts to disrupt criminal networks involved in the smuggling activities.

Hadebe said the actions of the criminal syndicates pose significant threats to South Africa’s national security and economic stability.

Last year, the publication reported that the regional court in Mokopane, Limpopo, convicted and sentenced a 35-year-old South African man, Shane Mthombeni, who was arrested for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, a silver Toyota Fortuner which was heading to Zimbabwe.

At the time, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba said Mthombeni was sentenced to six years of direct imprisonment, without the option to pay a fine.

“The court heard that the South African citizen, Shane Mthombeni was intercepted by police while driving a silver motor vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner at Nyl Toll Plaza along the N1 Highway on October 30,” he said.

Members of the Limpopo police’s provincial tracking team, in conjunction with a private security company operationalized information which had been gathered, and arrested the driver, Mthombeni.

-IOL

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