The Chronicle

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Office

On Thursday afternoon, South African security officers had to shoot crocodiles who wanted to attack them as they destroyed a makeshift bridge built by smugglers and smugglers along the Limpopo River.

The “wooden bridge” was “mysteriously” built about 3 km west of the border post and largely covered the hollow of the South African part of the border.

Currently, Zimbabwe and South Africa have two official crossing bridges, the Alfred Beit Bridge and the New Limpopo Bridge.

A resolution was taken to destroy the bridge on Monday following a meeting between Zimbabwe and South African security agencies.

Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed the incident on Friday.

“On September 8, Musina police attempted to destroy the illegally constructed makeshift bridge across Zimbabwe into South Africa and back,” he said.

“While they were busy at work, some crocodiles that were in abundance patrolling the area tried to feast on the police.

Shots had to be fired to frighten them and as a result a small part of the bridge was destroyed ”.

Brigadier Mojapelo said they have since asked that country’s military to help them destroy the bridge.

It is understood that South Africa and Zimbabwe are losing thousands of dollars in potential import duties due to the extensive smuggling of prohibited and dutiable goods across the Limpopo River.

The high level of border crime has seen the two countries strengthen border security where air patrols are regularly carried out over the 250 km border.

Border jumpers and smugglers have continually developed new ways and routes to cross either country since the Covid19-related blockades began in March 2020.

Electrical gadgets, groceries, fuel, vehicles, genetically modified products, baby diapers and prohibited items are the majority of products smuggled into Zimbabwe.

Cigarettes, minerals, wildlife and explosives make up the bulk of the items smuggled into South Africa.

The crime rate on the Limpopo River, where the riverbed is currently dry, has been compounded by the unavailability of a patrol route on the Zimbabwean side of the border.

Currently, there are fewer motorized patrols, with security personnel covering an average of 30 km on foot per day on average.

Zimbabwean security agents have so far arrested more than 46,000 people for border crimes between January 7 and September 1 of this year.

During this period, a total of $ 110 million, $ 35,000 and R 465,000 was realized in fines and import revenue.

Recoveries of goods valued at $ 9.2 million, $ 206,000 and Rand 3.1 million were also carried out by the Zimbabwe National Security Task Force. – @tupeyo

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