Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
The national security taskforce has intercepted a stolen vehicle that was being smuggled from South Africa into Zimbabwe near the Tshikwalakwala area on Sunday morning.
The vehicle, believed to be stolen, was to be smuggled again into Mozambique.
The area is located 135km east of Beitbridge border town and the vehicle was intercepted less than 10km from the Limpopo River.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they have arrested Antonio Sevene Massigue (42) a Mozambican and his accomplice Robert Mbedzi (35), a Zimbabwean from the Tshipise area in Beitbridge.
He said three other suspects were still on the run.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the value of the Toyota Hilux was yet to be ascertained.
“The two are assisting the police with investigations. Our security team comprising the police and members of the national army who are implementing a national operation targeting cross-border crimes received a tip-off concerning the smuggling of the vehicle.
“They then lay an ambush at around 5AM on a road that was being used to transport the vehicle which had five people on board including the two who have since been accounted for,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said when the smugglers realised that they had been cornered, three escaped while Massigue and Mbedzi were arrested.
He said a search conducted on the vehicles led to the discovery of some identification documents and driver’s license belonging to a South African national.
“Indications are that the vehicle had been stolen from South Africa and was being illegally transported to Mozambique. However, further investigations are in progress,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the duo will soon appear in court on smuggling and related charges.
The smuggling of stolen cars via Zimbabwe from South Africa is rife with authorities from both countries have recovered over 40 vehicles along their boundary.
In 2012 Zimbabwean police smashed a well-orchestrated car smuggling syndicate near the Panda Mine area and arrested seven Malawians and recovered five top-of-the-range vehicles.
The vehicles included; two Toyota Fortuner vehicles, one Nissan Navara, Toyota High Rider, and a Toyota Vigo all worth R4 million.
It is reported that some of these syndicates are linked to security personnel manning the border and officials, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), and the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).
The officials are alleged to be facilitating the smuggling and registration processes.
In December 2017, a Zimbabwean, Frank Dube was arrested by South Africa’s elite police, the Hawks for orchestrating the theft of six new Ford Rangers at a car dealership in Phalaborwa. — @tupeyo.