It would appear as though the Police are taking cigarette smuggling more serious than drug dealing if one looks at the number of cigarette smugglers arrested in just the last 24 hours.

A 33-year old man who was arrested two months ago for transporting illicit cigarettes to the value of R200 000 along the N1 North of Musina, will have to pay a fine of R600 000 or spend five years in prison.

The Provincial SAPS Commissioner in Limpopo, Lt Gen Nneke Ledwaba, welcomed the sentence handed down by the Musina Regional Court yesterday, Monday the 20th of July, against 33-year old Desta Andualem after he was convicted of smuggling illicit cigarettes. The convict, who is a foreign national, will have to pay the fine or serve the sentence, there is no bargaining room.

The police were allegedly busy conducting Covid-19 operations along the N1 highway North of Musina on the 31st of May when a white Ford Ranger driven by the convict approached. The vehicle was searched and 20 boxes filled with cartons of Remington Gold cigarettes valued at R266 940 were found loaded at the back of the vehicle.

“This sentence must send a clear message to all smugglers that the police will stop at nothing when fighting this scourge. The speed with which this case was handled shows the determination of our justice system to stamp out the smuggling of illicit goods,” concluded General Ledwaba.

***Editor’s Note: Again, it becomes apparent that the skill of the average South African police officer to accurately identify foreign national cigarette smugglers has reached extraordinary levels. We wonder how long it will take to hone these exceptional skills into worthy countermeasures against farm attackers and poachers. Lastly we wonder if Lt Gen Ledwaba views the numerous open and unsolved murder, hijacking, missing persons and farm attack cases in his province equally as satisfactory.