The South African Police Services (SAPS) is yet to destroy an illegal makeshift bridge over the Limpopo River linking South Africa and Zimbabwe after crocodiles charged at the officers who were trying to destroy the structure last week.
In defence, SA police shot at the advancing crocodiles while retreating from the wooden bridge.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the crocodiles wanted to “feast on police officers” and the reptiles “were in abundance, patrolling the area” when the incident happened on Thursday.
He added that the bridge would be destroyed in the coming week but this time with the help of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Said Brig Mojapelo:
A small part of the bridge was destroyed. The SANDF was notified and they will also come to assist.
The wooden bridge, 3km west of the main border post, was erected by smugglers about a month ago to move goods between SA and Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was notified about the structure and on Monday last week engaged their SA counterparts since the “bridge” is on the deep end on the South African side.
The “Wooden Border Post” as it came to be known became a conduit for groceries, electrical goods, fuel and other basic commodities needed in Zimbabwe.
From Zimbabwe, it provided a passage for undocumented travellers, contraband cigarettes, and precious minerals.
The Beitbridge border has been closed for human traffic for months due to COVID-19 containment measures by both countries and this has led to an increase in smuggling involving cross-border traders.