Smuggling of cars to Moz resurfaces

2011-09-22 20:01
Durban - The smuggling of cars from South Africa to Mozambique in northern KwaZulu-Natal has started again, according to a provincial traditional leader.

"The smuggling of cars to Mozambique has begun and the community is trying to put a stop to it," Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe told Sapa.

Local residents had caught four people suspected of being behind the car hijacking syndicate, and handed them to the police, he said.

The smuggling of stolen luxury vehicles into Mozambique peaked between 2000 and 2005. Most of the vehicles smuggled to Mozambique were stolen in Gauteng, Durban, Empangeni and Kosi Bay.

The syndicate was uncovered when a South African police unit was deployed in Mozambique and Kosi Bay.

Tembe said locals had identified people suspected of being behind car hijackings in Kosi Bay.

"This was after a number of cars were stolen and allegedly taken to Mozambique. There was also talk of a list of cars which were going to be stolen," he said.

Between 2000 and 2005 Kosi Bay residents stopped buying new cars because they feared they would be stolen, he said.

"When the theft subsided, people started buying cars. That is why they are prepared to fight them [suspected criminals]. They want to protect their property," said Tembe.

A tractor belonging to the Umhlabuyalingana Municipality had also been stolen and apparently smuggled into Mozambique, he said.

"We are happy that the police leadership is taking this matter seriously. I phoned the provincial commissioner [Mamunye Ngobeni] and asked her to intervene and she responded positively."

The police were not immediately available to comment.

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