By Liz Dlodlo
South Africa’s provincial police commander for Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has complimented the Saps Highway Patrol Team for their relentless efforts in the fight against the mushrooming of drugs and illicit cigarettes across the Province.
Most of the cigarettes are being smuggled from Zimbabwe via the Limpopo River which is currently dry.
The demand for Zimbabwe tobacco products is high in South Africa, though high excise duties have hindered traders to export and import formally.
He said the team, had this week arrested sixteen suspects aged between 25 and 41 for possession and dealing in illicit cigarettes.
Among those arrested was a 36-year-old serving police officer based at Apel Police Station.
Lt Gen Ledwaba said the sting operation was targeting those possessing drugs and dagga and was done through the stop and searches and patrols, focusing on the crime-infested areas.
“Items recovered during these operations include two motor vehicles, one firearm, ammunition, illicit cigarettes, drugs, and dagga.
The 36-year-old Police Constable stationed at Apel Police Station in the Saps Sekhukhune District, was arrested during the stop and search operation after he was found in possession of drugs in the Ga-Masemola Policing area within the same District,” he said.
The Police Commander said they had confiscated 20 sachets of drugs (nyaope) loaded in his motor vehicle and also seized a firearm from their colleague.
Lt Gen Ledwaba said eleven suspects aged between 25 and 36 were arrested in the Polokwane policing area and 48 balls of nyaope drugs, 42 sachets of dagga, and 16 cartons of illicit cigarettes were confiscated.
“In the Mogwadi policing area outside the City of Polokwane under the Saps Capricorn District, the Team followed a tip-off from members of the community about the suspect who was reportedly selling illicit cigarettes at Mohodi New stands outside Senwabarwana.
Upon arrival, the police found a 36-year-old man at his tuckshop, searched him and the shop. In the process, nine cartons of illicit cigarettes were recovered and he was immediately arrested,” said Lt Gen Ledwaba.
He said more arrests were made in the Hlogotlou policing area in the Sekhukhune District and that the suspects will soon appear before various Magistrate’s Courts.