R8m worth of suspected stolen wool smuggled into SA from Lesotho

2020-01-23 20:38
The load that was recovered by police. (Supplied by SAPS)

The load that was recovered by police. (Supplied by SAPS)

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A truckload of wool worth R8m on its way from Lesotho was intercepted in the Free State on Tuesday on suspicion of being stolen, police said on Thursday.

Fouriesburg police pulled the driver over after a tip-off that a truckload of sheep's wool was being transported and that the driver had no documents for it.

He was travelling from Lesotho and was allegedly not able to produce the required documentation for the wool.

The driver was expected to appear in the Fouriesburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday on a charge of being in possession of suspected stolen property.

READ: ‘Struggle’ continues for Lesotho wool and mohair producers

Isak Staats, general manager of BKB Wool and Mohair, told News24 that wool fetches around R140 per kg at the moment.

"Wool theft is quite a big problem in SA," he said. "It is a liquid asset - anybody can steal it and it is quite easy to sell." 

The most common method of theft is for a worker so inclined to squirrel away handfuls into a pocket every day until the pile has built up to a large enough size to offer for sale.

Staats did not think the bust could be related to a heated dispute in Lesotho over auctioning and transporting wool between South Africa and Lesotho.

He said those limitations were resolved through the Lesotho Parliament at the end of 2019 and an agreement was in place for the next two years. 

Read more on:    lesotho  |  crime
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