Increased security measures have been put in place on South Africa’s roads and at borders to prevent smuggling of illegal goods or illegal entry, as by Thursday nearly 40000 people had entered the country’s borders.
More than 4000 people have also been intercepted while attempting to illegally enter without proper documentation, according to the Border Management Authority (BMA).
Many of these people were stopped at the Beitbridge Border Post in Limpopo and returned to Zimbabwe.
BMA commissioner Mike Masiapato said operations have since been beefed up to curb the smuggling of illegal goods or people.
“Thousands of people have been processed back into the country as part of the return leg. Deployments have been intensified at key areas such as the north gate, which is the access point, to make sure everyone who enters are people who already have documentation.
The biggest issue that gets smuggled is illicit cigarettes but have not had any encounter with such. We are suspecting it is because they can see security has been intensified. About 15 buses have been stopped so far for outstanding fines,” said Masiapato.
Meanwhile, Thabo Brian Ngwenya, 35, was remanded in custody after his brief appearance at the Hendrina Magistrate’s Court this week. He was intercepted on the R38 Road from Middleburg towards Hendrina allegedly in possession of a stolen grey Nissan Navara, which police believed was destined for Mozambique.
This was as the Patriotic Alliance (PA) on Thursday entered the second night of their #Abahambe camp near the Limpopo River where they said they have been witnessing and chasing away people who attempted to cross into the country by means including float boats.
The national Transport Department expressed their major concern over festive season driver behaviour, which has resulted in the loss of many lives.
“The main cause of crashes has also been the moving traffic violations by the same drivers, such as overtaking on the barrier line, over-speeding and not wearing seat belts.
“It can therefore not be overemphasised the fact that the rules of the road must be adhered to at all times.
With road users making their way back, they must also ensure that they rest after every two hours or 200km of driving because fatigue is also another silent killer,” said Transport Department spokesperson Collen Msibi.
He said the overall statistics would be released by Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga later this month once they are done with the consolidation of numbers from the provinces and municipalities.
Mobility MEC Ricardo Mackenzie said officers continue to have a strong presence on all major routes, with high-visibility patrols and operations targeting dangerous and illegal behaviour.
“I must commend our provincial traffic officers, who have worked incredibly over the last few weeks to keep residents and visitors safe in our province. The weekly operational results show that there are serious consequences for those who ignore the rules of the road. Last week alone, provincial traffic officers issued over 7 000 fines and made 143 arrests, including 111 arrests for drunk-driving,” he said.
About 20 people were killed, the majority being pedestrians.
“Even one person dying on the road is one too many. Many fatal crashes could be prevented with simple actions like buckling up, not drinking and driving, checking vehicle roadworthiness, not speeding, and taking rest breaks to prevent fatigue,” said Mackenzie.
The Western Cape and Eastern Cape were among five provinces identified as hot spots as they had the highest fatalities during the 2022/2023 festive season.