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'Car thieves laugh at us' say KZN residents

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Manguzi, KwaZulu-Natal – There have been incidents where South African soldiers have crossed the border into Mozambique to recover stolen vehicles – and have been arrested, tried and sentenced by the Mozambican authorities.

President Jacob Zuma, defence minister Nosiviwe Nqakula, communications minister Faith Muthambi and state security minister David Mahlobo visited Manguzi, in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday, after premier Willies Mchunu had told members of the Presidential Coordinating Commission about the serious crime situation at the Mozambican border.

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A policeman stands guard at the border between KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique. Local authorities dare not cross the border to recover vehicles stolen in South Africa. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Locals spoke about the pain of losing their expensive vehicles. They said when they give chase to criminals they hit a snag once the vehicles crossed the border. They said once criminals crossed the border they stop the stolen vehicles “and laugh at us and the police”.

“Mozambican soldiers do nothing to help us get the vehicles back," said one resident."Sometimes you go to Mozambique and see your car and even touch it but you cannot claim it because it’s in a long process to get it back.”

KwaZulu-Natal community safety and liaison spokesman Sipho Khumalo said about 15 stolen vehicles were taken across the border every two weeks. He said the vehicles included bakkies from the provincial Department of Health, which had been hijacked while delivering medication.

Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said 120 stolen vehicles had been taken across border in the past six months.

The Mercury

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