2 Malawian nationals in serious trouble after being caught driving stolen Toyota Fortuner


SOUTH African police have arrested two Malawians found driving a stolen Toyota Fortuner worth R900 000 which they were allegedly planning to smuggle to their country via Zimbabwe.

The duo was arrested on Thursday last week in an ongoing anti-smuggling operation targeting syndicates involved in stealing cars and smuggling them to several countries including Malawi and Mozambique via Zimbabwe.

As a result of an intensive crackdown on crime along the Limpopo River by South African and South African security agents, some syndicates are now preferring to smuggle the cars via Botswana and the Plumtree border post.

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Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba confirmed the arrests and said the suspects will appear before Polokwane Magistrate’s Court soon.

He said the two men between the ages of 33 and 36, were charged with possession of a presumably stolen motor vehicle and Contravention of the Immigration Act.

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“Information was received about a possible stolen motor vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner 2.8 valued at R900 000, which was from Gauteng and was going to be smuggled to Malawi through the Beitbridge border post,” he said.

“The operational team followed up on information, and the motor vehicle was spotted on R519 Bergnek Road.

An attempt to stop the said vehicle failed, and a high-speed chase ensued until the motor vehicle was intercepted near Lunds farms in the Westernburg policing area”.

Col Ledwaba said preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen at Bedford View, Gauteng Province, on Sunday 24 March 2024.

He said further investigations into the matter were continuing.

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

At least two cars are intercepted in Limpopo province heading for the Zimbabwean border weekly.

In South Africa, the cars are driven mostly by the locals, who then hand them over to Zimbabwean drivers at the Limpopo River who then drive them to Nyamapanda Border Post and hand them to the Malawians or Mozambicans.

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

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

On 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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