Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A 42-year-old Zimbabwean woman was on Wednesday jailed for an effective 15 years by a Musina Regional Court for smuggling explosive worth R168 000 into South Africa.
Mercy Rifundo was arrested last year by the neighbouring country’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in Limpopo on August 17 last year soon after entering into Zimbabwe through Beitbridge Border Post.
She was also fined R20 000 for violating South Africa’s immigration laws, of travelling without any valid documents.
The Hawks have since the beginning of the Covid-19 induced lockdown been cracking down on drug peddlers, smugglers, and fraudsters around Limpopo province. Over six people mostly Zimbabweans were jailed around Limpopo for smuggling explosives.
Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo province, Captain Matimba Maluleke said Rifundo was busted while carrying 590 units of blasting cartridges.
The unit’s (Hawks) acting Provincial Head for Limpopo, Brigadier Angie Matlabe commended the investigation and prosecution teams for their efforts.
Recently, two Zimbabwean men were also jailed for an effective 15 years by the same court for smuggling explosives worth R470 000 into South Africa.
Patson Banda (25) and Life Mbazi (33) were in March last year arrested while crossing into the neighbouring country pushing the contraband in two trolleys.
The smuggling of explosives into South Africa through the Beitbridge border has become a perennial headache for border authorities.
It is understood that these are used for ATM bombings or illegal mining activities in the neighbouring country.
Over 20 people have been arrested with explosives along the border with South Africa in the last 24 months.