A 47-year-old Zimbabwean national has been charged with fraud, false declaration, and possession of illicit cigarettes after being caught entering South Africa with R21 million worth of the illegal goods. The individual appeared in court in Limpopo on February 9th, and the case has been postponed to February 14th for a bail application.
The individual, identified as Peter Tambudze, arrived at the Beitbridge border post on January 19th driving a truck with two trailers. Despite declaring that he was transporting cotton, a police search revealed the truck to be loaded with illicit cigarettes.
“He declared on the SAD 500/Entry form that he is transporting cotton,” Limpopo National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said.
“Along the way from Musina, police officers stopped the truck and searched it. They found that the truck was loaded with illicit cigarettes worth over R21 million, and he was arrested.”
Tambudze was arrested and the truck, trailers, and cigarettes were confiscated.
In a related case, six individuals appeared in court for possession of illicit cigarettes valued at over R5 million. The individuals were arrested on January 27th while they were in the process of packaging the cigarettes. The police confiscated three trucks, a gas tanker, an Isuzu bakkie, a Toyota Auris, and the cigarettes. The case has been transferred to the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for a bail hearing on February 15th.
Illicit cigarette smuggling continues to be a major concern for South African authorities, and this recent bust demonstrates their commitment to cracking down on such illegal activities.