Commissioner of the Border Management Authority (BMA) Mike Masiapato has confirmed that it intercepted 443 children, under the age of eight, who were trafficked from Zimbabwe into South Africa.
This follows a sting operation the BMA conducted with the South African Police Service and Home Affairs at the Beitbridge border post on Saturday.
Masiapato said on Sunday, during a media briefing, that they contacted officials in Zimbabwe and have sent the 443 children back to that country.
He said human trafficking was becoming a serious problem.
However, he promised that they will continue to conduct operations during the festive season.
They will deploy additional guards at the busiest ports of entry
“Just last night, a sting operation conducted by the Border Guards, the Home Affairs Anti-Corruption team, and members of SAPS stopped and searched 42 buses at the Beit Bridge border post and found about 443 children under the age of eight who were travelling without parents or guardians being trafficked into South Africa. We denied them entry and activated the Zimbabwean officials to process them back into Zimbabwe,” said Masiapato.
The South African Police Service has over the years reported an increase in human trafficking cases.
Masiapato said they will work with other law enforcement agencies during this time of the year.
He said in the last few months they stopped about 100,000 people from entering the country for various reasons and some of them were wanted by Interpol in different parts of the world.
Masiapato said they also stopped 279 stolen cars from being taken out of the country.
“We were further able to intercept about 396 blasting cartridges as the criminal elements attempted to bring them into the Republic to be used in exploding cash-in-transit vans across the country. At the Kosi Bay port of entry in Northern Kwazulu-Natal, we intercepted 19 tower batteries and four solar panels en-route to Mozambique, we then arrested the two individuals and handed them over to the detectives of SAPS for further investigations,“ said Masiapato.