Zim, SA intensify border patrols

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Zim, SA intensify border patrols 
One of the makeshift bridges across the Limpopo River that was destroyed by border patrol authorities this week. — Picture: SAPS Limpopo

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

Zimbabwean and South African security forces have increased patrols along the border, where illegal bridges across the Limpopo River have been destroyed, with smuggled goods into either country being seized in the past three weeks.

On the Zimbabwean side, immigration officials are cracking down on child trafficking cases with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) tightening measures to curb import duty evasion and the smuggling of prohibited goods.

Assistant Regional Immigration Officer at Beitbridge Mrs Canisia Magaya said between March 26 and April 5, they intercepted 59 illegal immigrants at Beitbridge Border Post destined for either country.

“We are not relenting in our efforts to minimise irregular migration through the border. Of the 59 intercepted between March 26 and April 5, 28 were boys and there were 31 girls.

“In addition, seven cross border bus operators were fined for facilitating illegal migration. During the same period, we also intercepted 10 undocumented Malawians and three Congolese nationals who have been taken to court for prosecution.”

Mrs Magaya said the movement of children was common during public and school holidays in both countries.

She said the Department had deployed enough manpower along the border to curb border jumping.

“Those with kids should have requisite documents, for instance, those travelling with guardians should in addition to a valid passport, have a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

“For one parent travelling with the child, an affidavit signed by the non-travelling parent is required, together with copies of the ID/passport of the parent.

Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Malasela Ledwaba said they were conducting a high density operation dubbed “Vala Umgodi” with the help of other security agents.

He said they were targeting smugglers moving prohibited and counterfeit goods into or out of the neighbouring country.

Col Ledwaba said the smugglers in some instances were using donkey pulled carts or wood rafts and illegal bridges made from logs to move contraband.

He said between Saturday and Sunday, they arrested 25 people in connection with smuggling activities and seized goods worth thousands of rands along Limpopo River.

“The South African Police Service Border Policing Team through High Density Operation Vala Umgodi have arrested total number of 23 foreign nationals for contravention of immigration laws and subsequently seized a homemade wooden step ladder and five donkey carts on the western side of Beitbridge at Marooi area in Vhembe District between April 20 and April 21 2024,” said Col Ledwaba.

In addition, members of the border police discovered abandoned dagga worth thousands of rands weighing about 9,5kg while they were patrolling the borderline.