Busy month on the SA/Mozambique border for Op Corona soldiers
Operation Corona, the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) ongoing border protection tasking, saw soldiers deployed on the Mozambique border with KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga having a busy August seizing contraband, including over 600 kg of dagga, valued at more than R3 million. Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff officer, Operational Communication at SANDF Joint Operations Division, said the single biggest item of contraband seized in August was trainers. “Soldiers on border protection patrols confiscated no less than 2 135 pairs of trainers which, along with cigarettes, clothing and cosmetics, have been conservatively valued at R2.13 million.” This is the second major bust this year of trainers with soldiers at the Lebombo border post seizing more than 29 000 pairs of trainers branded Puma, Nike, Jordan, All Star and Adidas, among others. The soldiers’ other major success in August came with the seizure of 682 kg of dagga with an estimated street value of R1.2 million.
“Two thousand one hundred undocumented people were also stopped on the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga border with Mozambique and handed over to Department of Home Affairs officials and police for further investigation and probable return to Mozambique. Soldiers on the Lesotho border with Eastern Cape also stopped a total of one hundred undocumented people, all apparently Lesotho citizens,” Paxton said. Reports coming from units deployed on particularly the South Africa/Zimbabwe border indicate what he termed “a dramatic drop” in contraband smuggling and people attempting to cross the border into South Africa without the necessary documentation. Rotation of the 15 companies, called sub-units by the Department of Defence, currently doing Op Corona duty starts next week with the new deployment set to be on station for six months before being relieved.