South Africa’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit , the Hawks has arrested another suspect (24) believed to be part of a syndicate that steals vehicles from the neighbouring country and smuggles them via Zimbabwe to countries north of the Zambezi River.
It is understood that most of the stolen cars find their way to Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo Captain Matimba Maluleke said the suspect was arrested on Wednesday at the Brixton Regional Court in Johannesburg while attending court on an unrelated charge.
“The suspect is believed to be one of the ringleaders of a group of thieves that stole six new Ford Ranger cars at Phalaborwa car dealership in Phalaborwa in December 2017,” said Capt Maluleke.
“Five of the six stolen vehicles were recovered at Limpopo River near Beitbridge before they could be smuggled into Zimbabwe on 9 December 2017.” he continued.
Four suspects, Frank Dube (32), Tsununu Ahmad Maphosa (32),Ndokiseni Mbedzi (45) and Mpho Dzwuguda (27) have since been arrested and appeared at the Musina Magistrate’s Court but only Dzwuguda and Mbedzi were granted R3000 bail each.
The suspect is expected to make his first appearance today at Musina Magistrate’s Court to face charges relating to burglary at a business premises and theft of motor vehicles. Investigations to search for another possible suspect(s) are still on”.
He said they have come up with a raft of measures to minimise vehicle thefts and their smuggling to other countries.
The smuggling of stolen cars via Zimbabwe from South Africa is rife with authorities from both countries having recovered over 40 vehicles along their boundary.
In 2012 Zimbabwean police smashed a well-orchestrated car smuggling syndicate near the Panda Mine area and arrested seven Malawians and recovered five top of the range vehicles.
The vehicles include; two Toyota Fortuners, one Nissan Navarra, Toyota High Rider and a Toyota Vigo all worth 4 million Rand.
It is reported that some of these syndicates are linked to security personnel manning the border and officials, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).
The officials are alleged to be facilitating the smuggling and registration processes.