SANDF Soldiers who have been safeguarding the SA/Mozambique and SA/Eswatini borderline recover 7 vehicles since operation CORONA started

The month of May turned out to be yet another busy but successful one for the South African National Defence Force and the soldiers deployed under Operation CORONA (Border Safeguarding Operations) in the Mpumalanga Province. 9 South African Infantry Battalion who have been handed the responsibility of safeguarding the South Africa/Mozambique borderline, South Africa/Eswatini borderline, and Kruger National Park are currently proving worthy of their reputation as a ‘force to be reckoned with’ when it comes to Borderline Operations. So far the unit has managed to recover seven (7) vehicles since they started their deployments on the line in mid-April 2022, five (5) of these vehicles recovered in the month of May. The total monetary value of vehicles recovered is just short of R4 Million and includes a Ford Ranger D/Cab, a white Toyota Hilux D/Cab (found abandoned in a field near Mananga Village – Macadamia), a 2009 model H100 Hyundai mini truck, a 1999 model Toyota Land Cruiser S/Cab, a Toyota Station Wagon (found abandoned at Mabuza filling station), a reasonably new model Range Rover and a VW Polo TSI.

Most of these vehicles were recovered due to the swift response and reaction by 9 South African Infantry Battalion in collaboration with local the South African Police Services. For instance, on 04 May 2022 at around 05:00, the SA National Defence Force soldiers were busy conducting a Vehicle Check Point when they were informed about a suspected stolen vehicle (Ford Ranger D/Cab) that was driving towards them while being chased by the Tonga SA Police Service. The SA National Defence Force soldiers acted as a cut off group and the vehicle was stopped on the R571 road. The driver, Mr Roberto Joao Matola, from Mozambique was arrested and the vehicle was impounded at the Tonga SA Police station.

In the case of the incident on 17 May 2022 involving the 2012 model White Toyota Hilux D/Cab, the SA National Defence Force Platoon Commander rapidly activated his members after receiving information from Tonga SA Police station regarding a vehicle which was hijacked at Kahoyi Village. The village is situated on route to the Mananga Port of Entry. After the successful recovery of the vehicle, which was found abandoned in a field near Mananga Village, the owner didn’t even bother to open a case as he was just too happy to have his vehicle returned to him in one piece. The vehicle was handed over to the owner by the Tonga SA Police Service.

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Apart from the vehicle successes, the Unit also managed to apprehend a total of 1040 Undocumented Persons, confiscate Dagga with a total weight of 768 Kg and worth R 2 458 708.00 recover two firearms and 54 rounds of ammunition, confiscate R 929 045.00 worth of contraband destined for South Africa and made a total of 47 arrests thus far. 

The 9 South African Infantry Battalion members deployed within the ever alert members of the South African National Defence Force confiscated over another million Rands worth of illicit cigarettes this week alone, including another Toyota Hilux GD6 2019 Model valued at R 549 900.00. First, it was illicit cigarettes valued at R 558 825.00 confiscated around 2km East of Dongola Kop. Then their counterparts based near ZZ2 Farm on the Eastern side of Musina Town confiscated Illicit cigarettes valued at R 494 922.00 being transported by Toyota Hilux GD6 valued at R 549 900.00. The South African Police Service Vehicle Theft Unit stationed at Thohoyandou was activated to come and tow the vehicle. In both incidents, our soldiers were busy with Way-lay operations. In both incidents, the suspects ran away. The illicit cigarettes were also handed over to the South African Police Service and the South African Revenue Service/CUSTOMS.

The Kruger National Park also made its presence felt during a Joint Operation with the SANPARKS Rangers when they managed to arrest two suspected poachers in the Satara area of the Kruger National Park on 17 May 2022. The arrest followed after the SA National Defence Force received information of possible poachers being in their area of responsibility after entering Mozambique. They arrested 02 male suspects, aged 28 and 39 and both being from Mozambique. It was later discovered that one of the poachers had two previous dockets against him and that he also failed to attend the court in 2015. They were arrested with a 458 hunting rifle with two rounds. The suspects, hunting rifle and ammunition were handed over to Skukuza SA Police Service. 

Joint Tactical Headquarters Mpumalanga is confident that the presence of the currently deployed 9 South African Battalion within their area of responsibility will greatly arrest the flow of criminal activities on and through our South Africa/Mozambique and South Africa/Eswatini Borderlines. The Cape Town-based Infantry unit of the South African National Defence Force is currently standing on 
R 6 843 903.00 worth of successes when converted to monetary value.

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