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2023/09/21      |  Written By:  Sergeant M Kareli   |   Province:  Free State

FREE STATE: 20 September 2023 -  Bilateral and simultaneous Operation "Yehlela" was welcomed by communities situated in the border line of Republic of South Africa and Lesotho. The 5-day multi-disciplinary operation started on 11 September 2023 and continued until 15 September 2023. This was a collaborative approach to borderline policing, as security forces from neighbouring Lesotho also took part in the exercise. The operation was held at the Maseru, Van Rooyensgate, Ficksburg and Caledonspoort borderposts.

During the operation, more than 10 vehicles, including two Nissan NP 200, Honda Fit, vehicle trailer, Nissan 1400, three Toyota Etios and a Toyota Corrolla, were confiscated after it was discovered that they were tampered with. Two vehicles, a Ford Ranger that was reported stolen in Mayville and a Jeep that was reported stolen in Maphumolo, were both successfully repatriated from Lesotho as they were reported to be stolen in the Republic.

Stock theft units from across the province were also summoned to take part in the operation and their actions resulted in the following successes: Nine suspected stolen cattles, 15 sheep, two horses and a goat, were confiscated after it was discovered that their brand marks were tempered with. During patrols, reaction groups found a cattle carcass in the bush and arrested three suspects for stock theft. 23 kg of copper cables and two knives were also seized. 11 livestock owners were issued fines after they failed to brand their livestock and one suspect was arrested for illegally importing cattle.

Compliance groups visited second-hand goods shops, liquor traders, livestock auctions, butcheries, cellphone repair shops and scrap metal dealers in the bordering towns.

Tracing Operation was also held by detectives, where 237 suspects were arrested for crimes such as Robbery, Burglary, Malicious Damage to Property, Assault with intent to cause grevious bodily harm and stock theft. The tracing was concentrated in Bohlokong, Bethlehem and Ficksburg.

The multi-disciplinary operation led to the following arrests: Six suspects were arrested for possession of suspected stolen goods, four for possession of dangerous weapons, two for dealing in dagga, two for possession of suspected stolen vehicle and 92 for contravention of the Immigration Act. 92 drivers were fined for contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

SAPS Free State Stock Theft Unit, working together with Lesotho Mounted Police, visited the community of Ha OuJong in Lesotho, where a meeting was held to educate livestock owners on the dangers of illegal gracing and general stock theft issues.