An anonymous official in the National Security Taskforce has said between March 1 and April 28, they intercepted 54 buses carrying an assortment of smuggled goods worth over US$20 million.
The Taskforce was deployed on January 5 at the recommendation of the National Joint Operations Committee (JOC) following numerous reports of smuggling and other criminal activities at the country’s border with South Africa. The official told Chronicle:
We have been intercepting some of the buses at security checkpoints between Beitbridge and Harare and Bulawayo.
We have established that in most cases the smugglers are using illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River to bring in commercial goods which they then load in buses at Dulivhadzimu bus terminus for onward transmission to various towns and cities nationwide.
A survey by Chronicle observed that most dealers travel to the border town of Beitbridge and illegally cross into South Africa through various entry points, and then bring back hordes of goods for resale.
They then load in intercity buses at Dulivhadzimu bus terminus, which is currently handling an average of 10 buses daily down from 30 due to strict Covid-19 regulations being implemented by the Government.
Common goods that are being smuggled into the country include building material, vehicles, fuel, livestock, flea market wares, illicit medicines, groceries, fuel, tyres, genetically modified (GMOs) vegetables and fruits, electrical gadgets, and vehicles among others.
Minerals, cigarettes and stolen livestock are also being smuggled out of the country.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they had resorted to naming and shaming bus companies that are being used to smuggle goods and transport contrabands.
He also said they were engaging the Ministry of Transport to revoke licences of bus companies involved in the smuggling scandals.