Zim man gets 8 years in South African jail after being caught driving stolen car near Limpopo river


A 36-year-old Zimbabwean man, Cosmos Ndou, has been handed an effective eight-year prison sentence by the Mokopane Regional Court in South Africa. Ndou was caught driving a stolen vehicle that was en route to the Limpopo River, a common smuggling route for cars destined for Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The arrest of Ndou took place during a focused operation by Limpopo police, who have been cracking down on car theft syndicates operating in the region. These syndicates smuggle the stolen vehicles into Zimbabwe before onward transportation to neighbouring countries. Some of these vehicles find their way into the Zimbabwean market.

Colonel Malasela Ledwaba, the spokesperson for Limpopo police, confirmed Ndou’s conviction and sentencing on Friday afternoon. The court heard that on September 18, 2023, Ndou was apprehended in possession of a stolen bronze Toyota Fortuner, which had been reported stolen in the Brooklyn policing area of Gauteng Province on September 16, 2023.

“The conviction and subsequent sentencing comes after, the court heard that on 18 September 2023, the accused was found in possession of a stolen motor vehicle, a bronze Toyota Fortuner that was reported stolen at Brooklyn policing area, in Gauteng Province on the 16 September 2023,” he said.

“On 18 September 2023, the police arrested the suspect, after the security company at Mookgopong was alerted by a tracking company to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle that was coming in their direction, along R101 North.

The security stopped the vehicle and found the driver, then explained to him that the vehicle was reported stolen. The police were quickly activated, and they immediately apprehended the suspect.”

Col Ledwaba said Ndou was found guilty on the charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle (first charge) and contravening a section of the immigration act (second Charge).

Subsequently, he was slapped with six years imprisonment for possession of the stolen car and another two years in jail for violating immigration laws.

The smuggling of vehicles has become rampant around the border line and the Government is losing millions of dollars in import revenue annually.

A modest car is charged 96 percent import duty inclusive of VAT and Surtax on the total invoice value.

Indications are that most of these cars are stolen from rental cars in South Africa while thefts are orchestrated by insurance fraud syndicates in that country.

In insurance fraud, the vehicles are clandestinely sold and smuggled out of South Africa, after which their owners working with syndicates then report them stolen and claim insurance money.

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