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2023-04-04 at 12:34 #398967Nat QuinnKeymaster
Last month (March) saw soldiers, assisted by police, confiscate over R5 million worth of dagga from cross-border smugglers intent on selling their illegal drugs to South African users.
The Mozambique border with Mpumalanga accounted for the most seized. The Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) did not release the mass/weight of dagga seized in March, giving only an estimated street value, in this specific instance R2.7 million. Next highest, in monetary terms, was the dagga taken from smugglers on KwaZulu-Natal’s borders with Eswatini and Mozambique. Here the value is given as R2.5 million.
The other big contributor to the R5 million plus total recorded in March was Lesotho with patrols on its Eastern Cape and Free State borders netting dagga worth R64 700.
As has become just about standard operating procedure (SOP), soldiers patrolling the borders with Mozambique stop the largest number of illegal immigrants – 945 in March – with Zimbabwe lagging a long way back at 426. The quietest border for illegal immigration is between Botswana and North West where 11 “undocumented persons” were handed to police and Home Affairs immigration officers.
In total, South African soldiers prevented 16 vehicles and a trailer from illegal export with the majority – 11 – intercepted before crossing into either Eswatini or Mozambique from KwaZulu-Natal. Total value of vehicles is estimated at around R12.5 million with all now in police safekeeping awaiting proof of ownership.
The importance of the SANDF patrolling and protecting South African borders is evident in a National Treasury allocation of R700 million over the next three years to procure vehicles and surveillance technology.
Troop pack vehicles, currently Toyota Land Cruisers, will be replaced with off-the-shelf vehicles and R500 million will be spent in 2024/25 for this. R200 million worth of sensor technology for Operation Corona in 2025/6 includes a geographic information system (GIS) capability (R22.5 million); intelligence collection and processing capabilities (R47 million under Project Baobab); upgraded Chaka command and control system (R7.2 million); Reutech RSR 903 radars (R57 million); 60 observation posts (R16 million under Project Dominate); 16 quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (R16 million) and two long-range UAVs (R24 million).
The SANDF indicates it needs approximately R800 million for a new command and control system, surveillance cameras, artillery observation capability and air defence radars for border security, but funding for this is unlikely.
At the same time the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) has funding approved to procure ambulances and deployed medical equipment for military health support along the borderline. Over R180 million is being provided by National Treasury between 2023 and 2025 for ambulances, X-ray machines and deployable medical equipment.
source:SANDF stops R5 million plus worth of drugs hitting SA streets – defenceWeb
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