Illegal cigarettes are flowing across the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe – either through the border post at Beit Bridge or through the Limpopo River The Guardian reports.
According to an investigative report in the paper, there are more than 200 illegal transit points between South Africa and Zimbabwe that cigarettes are smuggled into. Smugglers keep in touch on WhatsApp groups.
Motlafela Mojapelo, Limpopo police spokesman, said they had certainly seen an increase in smuggling and had to increase their patrols with the military.
Mbare, a vegetable market in Harare, is a well-known starting point where containers of cigarettes are loaded onto trucks for transport to the south.
Smugglers who do not have access to trucks use footpaths and paid local guides to find places where the river can be easily crossed.
Peter, a 38-year-old smuggler from Beit Bridge, says he has been selling illegal cigarettes for five years, but the ban in South Africa has changed a lot.
“I can’t miss this opportunity to make more money.
“It’s going so well, I can’t even meet the demand. These are exciting times, ”he continued according to The Guardian.