Interprovincial cross-border operation between four provinces yields excellent successes

Interprovincial cross-border operation between four provinces yields excellent successes

The strategic deployment of resources as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to crime fighting under “Operation Shanela”, yielded excellent results with more than 2035 suspects who found themselves behind bars. Their arrest followed on a well-executed Inter-Provincial Cross-Border crime combatting operation between Western Cape, Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape which commenced on Monday, 17 June 2024 and concluded yesterday 22 June 2024 with the deployment of 5274 personnel on the ground.

These crime combating operations are conducted on a regular basis throughout the year to successfully monitor and police highways as well as entry and exit routes to the respective provinces. The specific aim is to enhance visibility as well as to combat the flow of illicit drugs, unlicensed firearms, illegal items and stolen goods along national and secondary routes. It is also initiated to effectively address cross border crimes on the provincial borders of the four provinces in order to address serious, violent, economical crimes, drug trafficking and abuse, theft of non-ferrous metals and batteries, agricultural and illicit mining as well as mining transportation of stolen goods, illicit firearms, counterfeit goods, marine-fauna and flora resources, stolen non-ferrous metals, undocumented persons, stolen livestock and rhino poaching.

The integrated approach included various units within the South African Police Service (SAPS), Provincial and Municipal Traffic Officials, South African National Parks (SANPARKS), Department of Home Affairs (Customs and Immigration Officers), Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment(DFFE) as well as the Department of Employment and Labour. In addition, these forces were joined by officials of the National Bargaining Council who interacted with truck drivers at roadblocks and truck stops.

These integrated operations were coordinated from a Joint Operational Centre(JOC) which was situated at the Central Karoo Disaster Management Centre hosted by the Western Cape.

A total of 34 406 searches were conducted of which more than 23 602 were on persons, 14 387 vehicles and 268 premises identified in crime infested areas. Members also visited 315 second-hand goods dealers, 39 recyclers and 168 scrap metal dealers where vigorous compliance inspections were done.

Successes achieved during the inter provincial cross-border operation include 31 arrests for property related crime, 37 for contact crime, 70 other serious crimes and 85 for police initiated interventions (possession or dealing in drugs and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition) and the arrest of 247 undocumented persons. Other arrests varies from serious criminal offences such as murder and robberies to minor offences.

Another significant achievement was the arrests of 68 wanted suspects during tracing operations. A 34-year-old man linked to a robbery perpetrated at Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape was arrested while traveling through a static roadblock at an exit point of the province(EC).

Road Safety operations led to the arrest of 4 suspects for drunken driving and 400 fines to the value of R337 200 were issued for road traffic violations. Traffic officials also impounded unroadworthy vehicles which posed a threat to other road users.

The operation kicked off on Monday, 17 June 2024 with the confiscation 493 Mandrax tablets at a roadblock on the N7 near Nuwerus in the West Coast District and an unlicensed firearm(revolver) in Plettenberg Bay in the Garden Route District. On Thursday, 20 June 2024, police arrested two suspects aged 53 and 64 after a consignment of abalone estimated at R260 000 was found in their possession on the border of the Western and Eastern Cape on the N9.

On Wednesday, 19 June 2024 counterfeit apparel, included watches and clothing to the tune of R1.1 million were confiscated during an integrated operation at Nelson Mandela Bay District in the Eastern Cape.

On 18 June 2024, the various units deployed at Rouxville in the Xhariep District (Free State) conducted a roadblock on the N6 between Rouxville and Aliwal North where they pulled over a 10 ton truck. A search of the truck resulted in the discovery of 146 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes. The driver (28), a Zimbabwean national was arrested. He offered the police members a cash bribe for his release but was instead arrested for the possession of counterfeit goods and bribery. The following day, 19 June 2024, the same forces deployed in the Free State also confiscated 45 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes found in a Toyota Quantum. A 40-year-old man was taken into custody.

Meanwhile, On Thursday, 20 June 2024, forces deployed in the Free State confiscated five (5) firearms and a 404 rounds ammunition of various calibres. Four suspects aged between 32 and 47 were unable to account for their possession thereof and were subsequently arrested.

The focus on spaza shops led to the confiscation of large quantities of medicine and tablets at SAPS Springbok and Nababeep in the Northern Cape during compliance inspections. A total of 3051 tablets and 32 small containers of 50 millilitres syrup, packaged as Adcodol and Alergex to the value of about R500 000.00 were seized. The origin of these items are yet to be established.

Furthermore, an intelligence driven operation at Wrenchville also in the Northern Cape led to the arrest of three suspects after copper cables valued at just over R100 000-00 were found in their vehicle.

Besides above successes, a significant decline in most categories of crime were observed for the duration of the cross border operation. The absence of serious crime in the districts bordering the four provinces can be attributed to the high density patrols and enhanced visibility on the provincial borders.

All arrested will make their court appearances in the respective courts once charged.

The Provincial Commissioners of the four provinces had nothing but praise for the command structure, forces deployed and participating counterparts for their commitment and diligence during the inter cross border operation which had been executed with a resounding success. They are in agreement that the mission of these integrated operations remains to effectively address and prevent priority crimes to ensure the safety of rural and urban communities as well as road users. Similar operations will be conducted under “Operation Shanela” to safeguard the public and ensure high visibility of law enforcement agencies.

SAPS Newsroom