Modified tanker trucks are at the center of a new wave of drug smuggling into and through South Africa as well as movement of illegal arms and ivory from and out of Zimbabwe, a Khuluma Afrika investigation has established.
This was discovered after a fuel tanker truck was hijacked just after the South Africa – Mozambique border post. The hijackers reportedly took the truck to a secluded farm believed to be their ‘extraction’ point only to find out the vehicle barely had fuel, and the tank had been modified.
The truck was driven and abandoned close to the highway. When it was seized by authorities, the container was taken apart leading to a discovery of contraband and some arms.
Intelligence documents shown to Khuluma Afrika indicate that the authorities in South Africa believe “there is a dual flow process of illicit and illegal goods up and down that route. A large percentage of the stock goes to cook houses in Hartebeesport/Britz areas… We are in the process of identification, naming, profiling and detailing vehicles and addresses of participants and players.”
“There seems to be a reverse consignment of electronic goods and clothing via the same transportation means (this is highly possible as being the reason in the spike in truck hi-jackings and mall robberies of cellphone/i-pad/tablets/high end goods companies).” read another part of the documents seen by Khuluma Afrika.
The smuggling of drugs and ivory first came to light in 2014 after an intelligence informant was arrested. According to sources in South Africa, the lady peddled information for ulterior motives.
By 2016, it had been established that the Mozambique border and the Beitbridge border had become prime smuggling routes.
According to documents seen by Khuluma Afrika, ephedrine, illegal cigarettes and ivory are smuggled into South Africa through these border posts and using this means. In reverse, second hand clothing, cocaine, crystal meth and illegal arms are smuggled into Zimbabwe.
“… external vehicles that are being taken to the SA/Zim border are vessels for drug substances in demand on the Zimbabwe side. Sources speak to MDMA, ecstasy, mandrax, disco biscuits and heroin.”
“The eth comes in via Beit-bridge across the Limpopo carried in by Gumas in conjunction with cigarettes, rhino horn, elephant tusks and any high return substance or product that is in demand.”
According to documents seen by Khuluma Afrika, at least 9 energy and freight companies are involved in these syndicates.
At least 5 of those are controlled and operated by people known to South African law enforcement. The other three companies however are owned by known associates (runners) of Grace Mugabe’s children, Russell Goreraza and Robert Mugabe jnr.
According to intelligence documents shown to this publication, at least one firm points directly to controversial businessman Genius Kadungure and an associate named in the documents as Titus Mudzonga.
At least 22 other firms with Zimbabwean connections point towards Grace Mugabe, her sons, and several controversial and pompous businessmen from the country.
South African authorities are on high alert after the discovery of an arms cache in Mpumalanga in December.
Whilst several suspects were arrested, Khuluma Afrika was shown ID documents and criminal suspect files of four Zimbabweans who are believed to have been behind the procurement of the arms.
Police believe the arms were meant for use in aggravated robberies but intelligence services in the country believe the arms were destined to Zimbabwe using the same smuggling routes.
Khuluma Afrika was told that the Zimbabwean government was told to take threats by former Minister Jonathan Moyo of bloodshed seriously as they believe arms are being smuggled into Zimbabwe, or are on their way there.
They also believe that illegal activities are being used to raise funds for the purposes of destabilising Zimbabwe.
A source who spoke to Khuluma Afrika indicated that the SA government had become uneasy about the repeat involvement of Grace Mugabe’s sons in illicit activities and this was raised with Robert Mugabe during meetings held when his wife was facing arrest.
“He was told and shown evidence that his son and step son were setting up a criminal enterprise in the country. After he was removed, the amount of cash generated through these smuggling operations definitely made people uneasy. And it has annoyed a lot of people including ministers who oversee the portfolios dealing with this. Especially the pompous rich lots who are just criminals” he stated.
Towards the end of 2017, South Africa’s police Minister Fikile Mbalula tweeted a video taken at a party hosted by Genius Kadungure (Ginimbi) with a caption lamenting his wealth as “ill-gotten proceeds of crime”.