Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Two men appeared before the Mankweng Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, facing charges related to an intense anti-smuggling operation conducted in the Capricorn District of Limpopo. The case has been postponed until July 7 for a formal bail application.

Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, provincial police spokesperson in Limpopo, reported that the arrests were made during a coordinated operation by the Limpopo SAPS provincial anti-smuggling task team and the Capricorn District flying squad unit. The operation, carried out between Sunday and Monday, followed a tip-off about two vehicles intended to be smuggled out of the country, presumably to Zimbabwe, via the Beitbridge port of entry.

“After receiving the intelligence information, the police team swiftly responded and intercepted the two vehicles, a grey Toyota Fortuner 2.8 and a white Toyota Hilux GD-6 double cab, which were spotted driving along the R71 from Boyne in the Mankweng policing area towards Polokwane,” said Ledwaba.

The police stopped the vehicles and, upon searching them, discovered that the drivers were unable to produce valid documents for the vehicles. Both vehicles had false registration number plates and false license discs, leading to the immediate arrest of the suspects.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the grey Toyota Fortuner 2.8, valued at R900,000, was reported stolen in Muldersdrift, Gauteng province, on Saturday. Similarly, the white Toyota Hilux double cab, valued at R700,000, was reported stolen in Brooklyn, east of Pretoria, Gauteng province, on the same day.

“The combined value of the vehicles is estimated at R1.6 million,” said Ledwaba.

Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, the provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, commended the law enforcement team for their diligence in recovering the stolen vehicles and their ongoing efforts to combat criminal activities in the province.

In a related context, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba reported a similar case where Shane Mthombeni was sentenced to six years of direct imprisonment, without the option of a fine, for driving a stolen silver Toyota Fortuner. Mthombeni was intercepted by police at the Nyl Toll Plaza along the N1 Highway on October 30.

“Members of the Limpopo police’s provincial tracking team, in conjunction with a private security company, operationalized gathered information and arrested the driver,” Mashaba said.

This recent spate of arrests and recoveries highlights the ongoing efforts of Limpopo’s law enforcement agencies to address vehicle theft and smuggling, ensuring the safety and security of the province’s residents and their property.

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