Zimbabwe man nabbed for smuggling explosives to South Africa

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Zimbabwe man nabbed for smuggling explosives to South Africa Thaimo Ndlovu (inset) and the smuggled explosives

The Sunday News

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

A 27-year-old Zimbabwean man has run into trouble after he was arrested by police in Mpumalanga province, South Africa who allegedly found him with an assortment of smuggled explosives meant for illegal mining activities in that country.

Thaimo Ndlovu has since been remanded in custody by the Barberton Magistrate Court to February 14 for formal bail application.  He has been charged for possession of explosives and violating he immigration Act.

Ndlovu was arrested during a multi-disciplinary tactical operation conducted by the Hawks Secunda based Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Secunda CIG, Nelspruit based Serious Organised Crime Investigation, White River K9 and Nelspruit Bomb Disposal on Friday last week. Hawks spokesperson for Mpumalanga Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the man will remain in custody and that further investigations were in progress.

“He was remanded in custody by the Barberton Magistrate Court on Monday, February 5 2024, for possession of explosives and violating the immigration Act, after he was arrested during a multi-disciplinary tactical operation on Friday February 2 2024 at Barberton. The case was postponed to February 9 2024 for bail information and February 14 2024 for bail application. The accused remains in custody. Investigation continues,” she said.

Capt Sekgotodi said the multi-disciplinary security team followed up information which led them to the residential place of the suspect in Barberton Mpumalanga. The premises of the suspect were searched, she said.

They found an assortment of explosives hidden in various places inside a shop.
“These include: 9 x Electronic detonators, 14 x Shock tube assemblies, 16 x Blasting cartridges, 6 x industrial drilling bit, and 104 m x detonating cord. The suspect was arrested and detained. Preliminary investigation established that the explosives were imported from Zimbabwe,” said Capt Sekgotodi.

She said during an interview the suspect revealed that the explosives are sold  mainly to illegal miners and other criminal elements.

The smuggling of explosives between Zimbabwe and South Africa is rife and border authorities from both countries have arrested more than 10 people for similar offences in the last six months.

It is understood that the explosives are being used mainly by syndicates involved in illegal mining activities in Gauteng and Free State provinces.

A few months ago a 32-year-old Zimbabwean truck driver was jailed for an effective 15 years by a Musina Regional Court for smuggling into South Africa a contraband of explosives via the Beitbridge border post. Amon Jokwiro, from Murehwa had with him 397 units of blasting cartridges marked Superpower 90 Solar Explohem Zambia Limited.

Among other things Chrome and gold have become a target of mining gangs including South African, Mozambicans and sometimes Pakistan nationals in South Africa.

Authorities in the neighbouring country are intensifying the crackdown on illegal mining following the death of 11 people among them Mozambican, Zimbabweans and South Africans in the Limpopo province recently. They died when an illegal mining shaft they were working in collapsed during heavy rains.

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