Smugglers using a donkey cart in the Limpopo River to sneak groceries into Zimbabwe were intercepted by police officers who spotted them from a helicopter.
The police operation on Wednesday comes barely a week after officers, also in a chopper, discovered smugglers used donkeys to try and pull a stolen vehicle across the river.
In Wednesday’s incident, a cart was used.
“A donkey cart was spotted from a police helicopter conveying goods towards the Zimbabwe side of the Limpopo River, which is about 2km from last week’s success,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo on Thursday.
The smugglers, when noticing the police helicopter landing on the river bank, ran towards Zimbabwe.
They abandoned the donkeys and the cart on a dryer section of the Limpopo River.
Items, including groceries, were discovered in the cart.
News24 understand that the smuggling of groceries started after Zimbabwe banned certain groceries and items from being brought in from other areas.
The move saw protests erupting in Harare and the Beitbridge border post by groups of concerned Zimbabweans and members of freight companies.
Both anti-smuggling operations were led by Limpopo’s provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba.
In last week’s incident, a motor vehicle that was reported stolen in Durban was abandoned by smugglers in the middle of the Limpopo River, along with five donkeys used to pull it through the water, after they were spotted from a police helicopter.
The suspects in this case also fled towards Zimbabwe.
The Limpopo River has become a popular smuggler’s route and is dangerous, with armed gangs demanding cash from illegal border jumpers.