Mmegi Online :: Cross-border petrol smuggling spikes in Mapoka
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Last Updated
Tuesday 20 November 2018, 13:46 pm.
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Cross-border petrol smuggling spikes in Mapoka

FRANCISTOWN: Located in the northeast district just a stone’s throw from the Zimbabwe border, Mapoka village, is faced with increasing lucrative cross-border smuggling of petrol to Zimbabwe.
By Lesedi Mkhutshwa Tue 14 Feb 2017, 16:19 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Cross-border petrol smuggling spikes in Mapoka








The dire economic situation in Zimbabwe is mostly blamed on the policies of President Robert Mugabe’s Government as they force many Zimbabweans to engage in illegal activities across the border in order to earn a living.

On the other hand, Mugabe blames sanctions that were imposed on his country by the Western countries for its various woes.

In an interview with Mmegi, Kgosi Ngocha Habangana of Mapoka said they are experiencing an alarming incidents of illegal smuggling of petrol outside the country by both locals and illegal immigrants.

He added that the lawbreakers destroy the border fence between Botswana and Zimbabwe and use it to illegally traffic the petrol.

“Fuel, especially petrol is being smuggled illegally outside Botswana through the border fence in Mapoka. The smugglers cut the fence when committing this offence,” he said. Habangana said locals assist the smugglers with their cars to transport the petrol across the border. He said the criminals use illegal routes to transport the fuel because they avoid paying tax at the Ramokgwebana border post.

“The youth around the village are jobless which forces some of them to engage in illegal activities to get money. They help the illegal immigrants to unlawfully move the fuel outside the country,” he said.

Habagana said the unemployed youth spend most of their time consuming alcohol and drugs and do not want to engage in Government poverty eradication schemes but prefer to engage in criminal activities.

He further noted that the lucrative business has increased other crimes in the village. He indicated that because of this lucrative business, more illegal immigrants easily cross the border into Botswana because of the destroyed border fence.

The village leader said the open border has also led

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to stocktheft in villages near the border.

“Poor people’s livestock easily cross over to Zimbabwe because the fence has been damaged. If the livestock is recovered from Zimbabwe, it will be killed by veterinary officers in order to control the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD),” he said.

Habangana added that because it is easy for Zimbabweans to cross the border, villagers and their property are not safe from the Zimbabweans.

He said they have reported numerous incidents of fuel smuggling to the Masunga police station but their pleas are not bearing the desired fruits. Habangana urged the villagers to always look after their livestock and make sure that they do not stray into Zimbabwe.

He pleaded with the police to assist them to fight the scourge of fuel smugglers and other crimes that are committed by Zimbabweans and their local accomplices.

Speaking to Mmegi, Masunga station commander superintendent Gaolathe Ngayaya said they are concerned about the escalating cases of illegal conveying of hazardous goods especially petrol without permit along the Botswana/Zimbabwe border.

She said in 2016 they recorded four cases of abandoned petrol along the border near Mapoka village.

Ngayaya further said they managed to retrieve 211 containers of 25 litres filled with petrol that was left near the border.

The police boss revealed that in the same year on different occasions they arrested both locals and illegal immigrates who were trying to smuggle petrol across the border.

“We caught some of the perpetrators red handed at Mapoka near the border. They were trying to smuggle 94 containers of 25 litres filled with petrol into Zimbabwe,” she said.

Ngayaya added that the culprits destroyed the border fence and used it as access to perform prohibited activities.

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