Law-enforcement officials in the Northern Cape are clamping down on an influx of illegal vehicle imports in South Africa.
Several operations targeting illegal vehicles took place across the province between September and November, dubbed Network RS5, Operation Vulindlela, Network Operation Francina, Network Operation Ditloung and Network Operation Bo Yellow.
The joint efforts were “enormously successful” after illegal cars worth more than R3 million were seized
Police said more than 70 “grey vehicles” were confiscated in the ZF Mgcawu, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Francis Baard districts respectively.
“Grey vehicles” is a term used by police to identify cars that are bought across borders and driven on South African roads.
According to intelligence gathered, the owners of grey vehicles imported them into the Northern Cape province without valid documents.
Northern Cape police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said locals were going into Lesotho and Botswana to buy cars for personal use in the country.
“They will be driving with Lesotho to Botswana number plates and then we cannot locate them if there are traffic offences committed,” explained Tawana.
These transactions cripple SA’s economy amounting to billions of rands.
Three suspects were arrested after a high-speed chase.
“The suspects were driving a car with Lesotho registration number plates and they fled as police tried to pull them over,” said Tawana.
Police then searched suspects’ cars and found rounds of ammunition in the back seats and on the driver’s side.
The grey vehicles were impounded under section 88 of the Customs and Excise Act.
A multi-disciplinary law-enforcement team, comprising provincial crime intelligence, Kimberley flying squad, Kimberley vehicle crime investigation unit, the Department of Home Affairs and customs executed the operations.
During the operations, more than 40 undocumented foreign nationals were arrested, for contravention of section 49 of the Immigration Act.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney