- South Africa’s multidisciplinary agency that investigates and prosecutes organised crime and corruption smashed a massive drug distributing syndicate in Kempton Park in Gauteng province
Johannesburg. Two Tanzanians are being questioned by South African authorities in connection with a 55-kilogramme drugs haul. They will be arraigned in court tomorrow (Friday).
The Hawks, South Africa’s multidisciplinary agency that investigates and prosecutes organised crime and corruption, smashed a massive drug distributing syndicate in Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni in Gauteng province, seizing narcotics worth Rand 75million (Sh12.7 billion).
Hawks Spokesman Paul Ramaloko told The Citizen that officers pounced on a storage facility yesterday morning and arrested two Tanzanians who were allegedly distributing the drugs.
He declined to name them, though, saying the syndicate was big and more people—including South Africans, were being pursued in connection with the crime. The narcotics include 25 kilos of heroin, 15 kilos of cocaine and 15 kilos of tik.
Mr Ramaloko described the seizure as one of their biggest successes in recent history. “We are now closing in on the big shots,” he said. “We will definitely arrest more suspects…this is a very big underworld group which includes South African nationals…we will nab them.”
The seizure of that haul is the second of such magnitude in four months involving Tanzanians. In July this year, two Tanzanian women were arrested transporting a haul of drugs.
Agnes Gerald, 25 and also known as Masogange, and 24-year-old Melisa Edward were caught in Johannesburg with 180 kilogrammes of methamphetamine worth about Sh7 billion.
After a two-month stint in South African jails, a Kempton Park court in Gauteng found Masogange guilty of smuggling Ephedrine or Precursor, a substance used to make drugs, and fined her R15000 (about Sh2.5 million). Edward was set free after the court heard that she had just accompanied Masogange. In recent years, a good number of young Tanzanians have reportedly joined Johannesburg city’s criminal underworld, and they are used as couriers for drug traffickers.
They are lured to South Africa with the promise of a good life only to sink into drug abuse and trafficking. Because of a rise in the number of Tanzanians engaged in drug trafficking, the government proposes to tighten controls and boost investigations into drug trafficking. The agency would function like the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau.
Last month, President Jakaya Kikwete cautioned Tanzanians living abroad that the government would not protect them or intercede should they be caught trafficking in drugs.