Explosives worth R700 000 found in hearse; driver arrested

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Police found explosives worth R700 000 in a vehicle that was stopped and searched at the Beitbridge border post.

A 30-year-old driver of a hearse was arrested over the weekend after attempting to smuggle illegal explosives into the country. The man was apprehended at the Beitbridge border post on Sunday afternoon.

Police officers, who were deployed at the border post, were conducting routine duties when they stopped the driver. “The vehicle and its trailer, were searched and the police found 306 units of blasting cartridges and four rims of detonating cord hidden in the trailer. The explosive materials are estimated to around the value of R700 000,” said Police Spokesperson, Brig Motlafela.

The driver, who is a foreign national, was immediately arrested and charged with smuggling and possession of explosives. He will appear in the Musina Magistrate’s Court soon, Mojapelo added.

His arrest comes days after a woman from Zimbabawe was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for smuggling explosives. The 38-year-old Linda Katiyo was nabbed at the Beitbridge border post in 2019 for attempting to smuggle R1,2 million worth of explosives into the country.

Earlier this year, two women were nabbed for smuggling explosives in Thohoyandou. The police received a tip-off about the smuggling operation and the two were nabbed as they were about to board a bus destined for Gauteng. The were searched and found to be transporting explosives, emulsion blasting cartridges and case fuses with the estimated street value of over R1,2 million.

They were charged with unlawful possession of explosives and contravention of the Immigration Act, and their case continues in the Thohyandou Magistrate’s Court.

In all three cases the explosives were destined for Gauteng.

Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Genl Nneke Ledwaba commended the officers involved for their continuous vigilance and dedication in arresting those who smuggle illicit goods into South Africa.

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