POLICE have stepped up patrols and checks along roads leading to and from the country’s inland borders to fight rampant cases of smuggling.
On Saturday, police in Beitbridge arrested three suspects for smuggling various clothes and shoes from South Africa worth more than R20 000.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said the suspects have since paid duty for the goods, which are valued at R20 804. He said during the same week they also arrested two motorists along the Bulawayo – Beitbridge Highway for under-declaring goods at the Beitbridge Border Post during the customs clearance process.
“We also arrested a 60-year-old female adult along Masvingo – Beitbridge Road at a roadblock after being found in possession of broncleer and Adco – Salterpyn syrup, concealed in her travelling bags. We suspect the consignment was smuggled from South Africa through Beitbridge Border Post,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The Government is beefing up security along its border with South Africa to curb intrusive leakages and other rent-seeking activities, which could be costing the country over US$1 billion annually in unpaid customs duty.
Last week, State Security and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ministers Owen Ncube and Kazembe Kazembe together with Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Director-General Ambassador Isaac Moyo, visited Beitbridge Border Post to assess the state of security and the level of crime along the borderline.
The delegation also visited the River Ranch illegal crossing point situated about 30km west of Beitbridge town. The area is a common area used by smugglers due to its close proximity to both the Beitbridge to Bulawayo and Beitbridge to Harare highways.