Joint Zimbabwean and South African border patrols along the Limpopo River have resulted in the arrest of 308 suspects on the Zimbabwean side and 77 on the South African side for various offences on Thursday.
The simultaneous operation was conducted by police and army from the two countries.
It is understood that the initiative is being conducted in support of Zimbabwe’s current operation “No to cross border crimes” and another in South Africa dubbed “Thatha Zonke” (Take everything).
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Republic Police said the strategic deployments were made targeting various cross-border crimes, including smuggling, stock theft, theft of telecommunication electrical batteries and entry and exit by evasion.
“The teams managed to arrest a total of 308 accused persons along the border distributed as follows: 296 for entry and exit by evasion and 12 for loitering, with three vehicles were intercepted along the borderline at Pountain and Dopen areas,” said the police.
“Our SA counterparts arrested 77 foreigners, and one person was arrested for selling liqour without a licence.
“In addition, a total of 135 searches were conducted on persons, eight vehicle searches, and 15 vehicle patrols were conducted on the South African component of the border.”
According to the police, the security commanders agreed to continue conducting regular joint patrols in order to bring order at the border.
Zimbabwe beefed up security along the border in January to curb intrusive leakages and other rent-seeking activities which authorities believe could be costing the country over US$1 billion annually in unpaid import duty.
The organized evasion of duty is also reported to be compromising State development projects and the viability of businesses that abide by all customs requirements.
State Security Minister Owen Ncube said yesterday that the Government had noted with concern the level of smuggling between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The common goods that are being smuggled into the country include building material, explosives, flea market wares, illicit medicines, groceries, fuel, and electrical gadgets.
Minerals, cigarettes, explosives, and stolen livestock are the most popular items being smuggled out of Zimbabwe.