NATIONAL NEWS - he Mokopane Regional Court has put the final nail in the coffin of a police constable accused of working in cahoots with criminals to smuggle motor vehicles from South Africa to Botswana.
Constable Matome Herman Mafa, 40, was accused of smuggling the vehicles and passing them through Groblersbrug port of entry on the border between South Africa and Botswana.
Mafa was out on bail together with his co-accused until he was sentenced on Monday to seven years direct imprisonment by the Mokopane Regional Court.
The sentencing was with no option of a fine. His co-accused, who have been accused of being partners in crime, were still on trial.
A spokesperson for the Hawks in Limpopo Captain Matimba Maluleke said Mafa and his cp-accused, a Home Affairs official and three runners, were arrested during an intelligence-driven take-down towards the end of a project dubbed “mirror”.
He said the project was aimed at addressing the escalating smuggling of suspected stolen vehicles at ports of entry in Limpopo and beyond the province’s borders. He said Mafa together with his co-accused has been on police radar since 2016.
“The syndicate would arrange fraudulent documents for stolen vehicles and make them pass through Groblersbrug port of entry into Botswana without being subjected to a mandatory examination, in return for kickbacks.”
He said the Hawks’ constant investigations into the shenanigans conducted by Mafa and his cronies, and the strides made by the unit to root out corruption within state institutions, were some of the aspects that ensured Mafa and the entire syndicate would be convicted and sentenced.
The Provincial Head of Limpopo Hawks Major General Thobeka Jozi has since vowed to continue to deal with all national priority offences, including cross border crimes.
“We will make sure that our borders are not a safe passage for stolen vehicles by intensifying our investigations. We will continue putting our ears on the ground to eradicate smuggling of stolen vehicles and other cross-border crimes,” she added.