Seven soldiers arrested for alleged cross-border vehicle smuggling in Limpopo are expected to apply for bail in the Musina Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Rapula Reuben Maidi, Edward Lepokola, Bulelani Danti, Ludwe Gwedashe, Thembani Mjelo, Marks Funeka and Peter Thato Namane made their first court appearance earlier this week.
Six of the soldiers were arrested on Monday. The seventh soldier later handed himself over to police on Tuesday.
Limpopo National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the soldiers allegedly took bribes of R15 000 per vehicle and allowed car theft syndicates to smuggle the vehicles to Zimbabwe.
“The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) received information about SANDF members who are assisting vehicle smuggling syndicates to smuggle suspected stolen vehicles through the Limpopo River. The Hawks and the military proceeded with the undercover operation, and the suspects were consequently arrested by the military police.”
Funeka and Gwedashe hold the rank of Lance Corporal while the rest of the accused have the rank of Private.
In a separate case in the same court, the bail applications of two other soldiers also nabbed for alleged cross-border crimes will be heard on Monday.
Lieutenants Lucky Jabu Mokoena and Sphamandla David Zungu were arrested after they were caught allegedly transporting boxes containing illicit cigarettes to a buyer in Musina. They had allegedly used a military vehicle to transport the cigarettes.