SCORES of smugglers who in the last four months took a sabbatical following the deployment of more security personnel along the Limpopo River, have returned with new routes.
Zimbabwe and South Africa beefed up security and increased patrols to curb the smuggling of goods in January this year.
The two countries closed the border to non-essential human traffic while allowing trucks to move cargo.
Since then, smugglers have created new lucrative illegal crossing points and have even opened a taxi rank at the Old Beitbridge Border Post and near Pagomo Lodge (Zimbabwe) and near Gateway Trucks stop (South Africa).
Although they are being rounded up by the police, some still find their way through by allegedly bribing officials on both sides of the border.
Some smugglers have become more daring and operate 500 meters east of the main border post and under the Old Limpopo Bridge.
When our news crew visited the Old Border Post yesterday, it was a hive of activity.
People coming into the country using several footpaths and carrying all sorts of goods including fuel, groceries, and electrical gadgets, and blankets were having a ‘‘free party’’.
Those who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were playing cat and mouse with the security agencies.
Others said they were negotiating their way after paying ‘‘small access fees’’ ranging from R20 to R100 depending on the goods being transported.
After getting into Zimbabwe, the smugglers and migrants are hiring taxis for anything between R50 and R60 to spots on roads leading to Bulawayo or Harare where they can hike to the two cities.
“It’s hectic my brother, at times we get rounded up and at times we manage to pass through without being detected. We keep shifting entry points,” said a cargo career is commonly known as Ma Zalawi.
The police officer commanding Beitbridge District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo was not readily available for comment-CHRONICLES
IN OTHER NEWS:JUST IN: ‘Striker’ Ndlovu dies!
LEGENDARY boxing trainer Philip ‘Striker’ Ndlovu has died.
He was 66.
Ndlovu succumbed to prostate cancer at his Ejingeni Flat in Makokoba suburb, Bulawayo in the early hours of Thursday morning.
His niece Sikhangezile Ndlovu confirmed Striker’s death, saying the boxing coach’s condition had severely deteriorated.
“Ukhulu (Ndlovu) has passed on. He died at home in Makokoba this morning. The day before yesterday (Tuesday), he fell hard, hitting his head on the floor and had to be rushed to hospital where he was attended to and released. Yesterday his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was failing to eat,” said Sikhangezile.
It was usually because even when he was in pain during his illness, he ate on his own. My uncle is at rest now because he was in so much pain and suffered a lot,” he said.
Ndlovu suffered from stage five prostate cancer and was on medication just to ease the pain.
The former Tshaka Youth Centre trainer was first diagnosed with prostate cancer at the beginning of 2020 and his condition deteriorated rapidly, leaving him bedridden after he failed to raise US$3 000 required for a trans-urethral resection of the prostate (Turp) operation procedure to remove parts of the prostate pressing on the urethra, making it hard to pass urine.
In his prime, Ndlovu identified and trained a number of Bulawayo boxers, who include former World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African cheavyweight champion Thamsanqa Dube and ex-World Boxing Federation (WBF) Africa heavyweight title holder Elvis ‘Bulawayo Bomber’ Moyo.