The joint operational multi-disciplinary forces comprising of the SAPS Tactical Response Team, National Intervention Unit, Public Order Police, Organised Crime Investigation, K9 Unit, Border Police Team along with the SANDF as well as the Department of Home Affairs have recovered five tipper trucks and millions of rands worth of illicit cigarettes through high-density Operation Vala Umgodi.

It is reported that the Team in Sekhukhune District has in the early hours of Monday 27 May 2024, accosted five tipper trucks and a Toyota Hilux double cab along R555 road outside Burgersfort loaded with chrome suspected of being stolen. Preliminary investigations revealed that the chrome was taken from illegal mining sites.

The Police have arrested the five males drivers of the trucks aged between 36 and 66 for possession of suspected stolen precious minerals while the sixth unknown male suspect fled the scene on foot.

In addition, two male foreign nationals, aged 26 and 44, were nabbed while digging precious minerals underground at Mulati village outside Tzaneen in Mopani District on Sunday 26 May 2024, at illegal mining sites. They are facing charges of illegal mining and contravention of the Immigration Act.

In a separate incident the Border Police Team on Monday 27 May 2024, recovered millions of rands worth of illicit cigarettes at Musina in Vhembe District near the Beitbridge Port of Entry. The cigarettes were being transported in a white Toyota Quantum vehicle driving in Musina at about 15:00. It is reported that the driver of the Quantum minibus, after realizing that he was cornered by the Police, jumped out of the vehicle and fled the scene on foot evading the arrest.

It is reported that the Police have counted about one hundred and nine boxes of illicit cigarettes with an estimated street value of R2.2 Million loaded in a Quantum minibus.

In addition the Joint Operational Teams have on Monday 27 May 2024, arrested twelve foreign nationals within the five districts including the Beitbridge Port of Entry for contravention of the Immigration Act.

The suspects are expected to appear before various Magistrate’s Courts in the week.