- At least 999 bricks of cocaine with an estimated street value of R500 million were seized at the Durban harbour at the end of July.
- The Hawks said at least two tons of drugs were seized since March.
- Investigators are still looking for a foreign national believed to be the mastermind behind the drug trafficking.
The Hawks seized a consignment of cocaine worth R500 million from a container at the Durban harbour last month.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the massive amount of cocaine was found in a shipping container carrying truck parts destined for Scania South Africa, a truck sales company.
Mogale said initial investigations revealed that the consignment would have been a "rip on, rip off" process in which the cocaine would be removed from the container clandestinely and the container seal immediately replaced.
"A subsequent search was conducted and, upon searching the container, several black canvas bags wrapped in plastic were found at the entrance of the container. Upon further investigation, it was established that the container was packed with cocaine bricks contained in the black canvas bags. A duplicate container seal was also found inside the container. The balance of the goods in the container were established to be truck cabs destined for the consignee (Scania SA)," Mogale said in a statement.
Investigators found 999 bricks of cocaine weighing 1 000 kg, with a street value of R500 million. No arrests have been made.
Mogale said at least four tons of cocaine have been seized in South Africa since March. Most of the drug hauls were destined for international markets, and at least 20% meant for the domestic market and the payment of drug traffickers.
The latest drug haul is believed to be linked to previous seizures where narcotics worth millions of rands were found, she said.
"This case is believed to be linked to a similar drug seizure on 9 July 2021, of 715 kg in Aeroton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, coming from Durban Port, also disguised as Scania truck parts. During the seizure of the said consignment, four suspects were arrested, including three police officials. Investigations have revealed that the origin of all of these consignments is the Port of Santos in Brazil," Mogale said.
Two more drug busts were executed at a depot in Isipingo, Durban. A larger consignment of drugs was also found in Gauteng, where four people were arrested after a R400 million cocaine bust along the N1 in Pretoria.
The Hawks are seeking help from the public to locate a foreign national believed to be the mastermind behind some of the crimes. Anyone with information has been requested to contact Brigadier Devon Naicker on 082 778 2818 and Warrant Officer Brittion on 082 778 2815.