Soldiers charged with possession of illicit cigarettes to appear in court

Two South African National Defence Force members and an undocumented foreign national are expected to appear in the Musina Magistrates Court in Limpopo on Monday for allegedly transporting illicit cigarettes in an Army vehicle.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo says Beitbridge police received a tip-off about an army vehicle loaded with cigarettes that were on its way to a buyer in Musina.

The army vehicle was stopped on the N1 next to the Baobab Truck Park.
He says the truck was searched and illicit cigarettes worth R160 000 were confiscated.
He says the two soldiers, aged 27 and 38, were dressed in their military uniforms while the civilian was wearing an army jacket.
Brigadier Mojapelo says the civilian was arrested but then the soldiers became confrontational and resisted arrest.
He says police confiscated the vehicle and the goods and charged the civilian with impersonating an SANDF member as well as contravening the immigration act.

Brigadier Mojapelo says the two soldiers were later brought to the police station by their Commander where they were charged with possession of illicit cigarettes, defeating the ends of Justice and resisting arrest.
Meanwhile, the Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) has expressed its concern at the incident.
Chairperson Monique Vogel says members of the SANDF are constitutionally mandated to defend and protect the Republic of South Africa, its territorial integrity and its people.

She says as an organization they have long been vocal about corrupt law enforcement agents and officials at South Africa’s border posts who play a substantial role in the smuggling of illicit cigarettes.
FITA called on all law enforcement agencies to implement stronger measures to monitor the conduct of their members while on duty.

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