Large quantities of T-shirts and running shoes confiscated in Op Corona busts

SA Army soldiers seized contraband valued at over R1.4 million in a busy weekend for the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) border protection tasking Operation Corona. Included in the haul were T-shirts worth R650 000 and over R700 000 worth of running shoes and trainers, according to Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff Officer: Operational Communications of the Joint Operations Division. “All the contraband was taken from people coming into South Africa from Mozambique,” he told the Lowvelder earlier this month, saying it was “more or less normal” to see a spike in goods of this type being illegally brought into the country at this time of the year. “With the Christmas holidays fast approaching the smugglers know there will be more people on the streets looking for products like these so demand is high,” he said. Soldiers doing border protection have in recent weeks seen an increase in items such clothing, shoes and cosmetics while there has been a decrease in the amount of liquor being illegally brought into South Africa.

Soldiers have also confiscated cigarettes, conservatively valued at R464 000, and seen to it that South African vehicles destined for chop shops or foreign buyers have remained on home soil. Paxton estimates the value of vehicles “saved” at more than a quarter of a million Rand. The SANDF is working with vehicle tracking companies to hunt down border hijackers and car thieves, a crime that appears to be more prevalent in the KwaZulu-Natal border areas at present. Other recent successes by soldiers saw more than 56 kg of dagga, worth an estimated R550 000, seized on the Mozambique and Swaziland borders and 160 illegal immigrants handed to police and the Department of Home Affairs.

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