Smugglers have resurfaced in Beitbridge and are using new routes to get entry into and out of the country after going low in the last four months.
They scaled down their operations when both Zimbabwe and South Africa beefed up security and increased patrols along the Beitbridge Border to curb the smuggling of goods in January this year.
The two countries closed the border to non-essential human traffic while allowing trucks to move cargo a move that is said to have inspired the rise of smuggling cases.
Since then, smugglers have created new lucrative illegal crossing points and have even opened a taxi rank at the Old Beitbridge Border Post and near Pagomo Lodge (Zimbabwe) and near Gateway Trucks stop (South Africa).
Although they are being rounded up by the police, some still find their way through by allegedly bribing officials on both sides of the border.
Some smugglers have become more daring and operate 500 meters east of the main border post and under the Old Limpopo Bridge.
Some of the smugglers told Chronicle that their operations are very risky as they are always running away from or bribing security forces manning the border. Said a cargo career commonly known as Ma Zalawi:
_It’s hectic my brother, at times we get rounded up and at times we manage to pass through without being detected. We keep shifting entry points,” said a cargo career is commonly known as Ma Zalawi._
Chronicle crew observed people coming into the country using several footpaths and carrying all sorts of goods including fuel, groceries, and electrical gadgets, and blankets.
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Security officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa have been rounding up an average of 300 people weekly along the river during joint border patrols.
Between February and March, Zimbabwe’s national security task force intercepted a total of 55 intercity buses carrying goods smuggled into the country through various points along the Limpopo River.
Zimbabwe is losing millions of dollars through smuggling and illicit trade as goods find their way in or out through the country’s porous borders.