Cape Town - A long distance bus company could have its operating licence revoked after authorities found 50 boxes of illegal abalone being smuggled in one of its buses.
The Western Cape Transport Department says it is investigating the Intercape bus company, after cops received a tip-off about the abalone, worth a whopping R5 million, hidden in a bus compartment.
Police swooped on the Cape Town bus terminus on Wednesday afternoon, where the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement’s marine unit found a ton of perly packed in 50 boxes.
No arrests have been made yet, although two Intercape employees have been questioned by cops.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith has urged police and the Hawks to investigate long distances bus companies as it appears they are being used to smuggle contraband.
Western Cape Transport Department spokesperson Siphesihle Dube says: “JP Smith referred the matter to the department and an investigation was launched into the possibility of withdrawing [Intercape’s] operation licence.”
But Intercape says they were the ones who alerted police about the abalone.
The company says in a statement: “Whilst it is apparent that Mr Smith may have reacted in haste before the facts were determined, it was in fact in consequence of Intercape’s swift action that a successful bust was carried out.
“Intercape has various crime prevention measures in place including personnel training, an internal investigation unit comprising former members of the police, sniffer dogs and a tip-off line for members of the public to report crime.
“Our measures have shown to be effective in the bust and we will continue our efforts to fight crime.
“We will further assist and cooperate with the police in any way we can with their further investigations.”
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk says the Hawks are investigating the matter.
“According to the tip-off the abalone was destined for Pretoria. A criminal case has been opened and is currently under investigation by Organised Crime,” Van Wyk says.
“The abalone was handed over to Sea Border Policing.”Daily Voice