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Zimbabwean truck driver jailed for 16 years for smuggling of explosives into SA

Zimbabwean truck driver jailed for 16 years for smuggling of explosives into SA
Explosives confiscated at the Beitbridge border crossing. (Photos: Supplied / SAPS)

A Zimbabwean national has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for illegally smuggling explosives into South Africa. He received a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with an additional year for absconding.

Prosper Takunda Henry Mumbure (34), a Zimbabwean national, was sentenced in Musina Regional Court on Thursday, May 18, after being found guilty of smuggling explosives into South Africa. Mumbure had been apprehended on 17 November 2022 at the Beitbridge border crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe. He was released on bail of R5,000 in January, but failed to appear at his next court date on 6 February 2023.

A warrant of arrest was issued, and Mumbure was rearrested 4 April 2023 by a Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation unit.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Limpopo spokesperson, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, says the accused subsequently pleaded guilty. Mumbure admitted in court that on 17 November 2022, he had been driving the truck carrying the explosives at the Beitbridge port of entry into South Africa from Zimbabwe.

A SAPS media release reads: “SARS and police officials inspected the truck and discovered that it had many explosives.” They found 17 reels of detonating fuse, 1,250 connector-capped fuses, and 2,569 blasting cartridges marked solar explosives hidden in the truck.

State prosecutor Jan Krijt submitted that the accused had been convicted of a serious offence:

“Crime wherein explosives are carried is a prevalent crime in this court’s jurisdiction. These types of offences are destroying our country through illegal mining, cash in transit [robberies] and ATM bombings. The offence has serious consequences for the safety of our people and the stability of our economy.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: From Zim, with Love: The Russian roulette of explosives smuggling

A report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in 2020 indicates the smuggling of explosives is a growing problem in South Africa and the southern African region. 

In another case, Mercy Rifundo, a mother of four from Zimbabwe, grew beans and periodically travelled to Johannesburg to sell her produce. She was found with 496 blasting cartridges in her suitcase and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Musina Regional Court in January 2021.

The ISS says the explosives finding their way across the South African border originate from the mining and construction industries in the region and are used by illegal miners and organised criminals to attack armoured vehicles transporting cash, and to blast ATM machines. DM

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