Home News Interprovincial cross-border operation yields ‘excellent successes’

Interprovincial cross-border operation yields ‘excellent successes’


The strategic deployment of resources as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to crime fighting under “Operation Shanela” yielded ‘excellent results’, with more than 2,035 suspects finding themselves behind bars.

Law enforcement officials conducted a total of 34,406 searches during the operation, including checks on more than 23,602 individuals, 14,387 vehicles and 268 identified premises. Picture: SAPS

IN A STRATEGIC multi-disciplinary effort to fight crime, “Operation Shanela” has recently led to “excellent results”, with more than 2,035 suspects apprehended and placed behind bars. The operation involved a well-coordinated interprovincial cross-border initiative between the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, and Eastern Cape.

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Christopher Spies explained that the operation, which unfolded from June 17 to June 22, saw the deployment of 5,274 law enforcement personnel on the ground. Their mission was to monitor and secure highways, entry points, and exit routes across the provinces. The primary objectives were to enhance visibility and disrupt criminal activities related to illicit drugs, unlicensed firearms, and stolen goods along national and secondary routes.

The operation specifically targeted cross-border crimes, addressing serious offences such as serious, violent and economic crimes; and drug trafficking and abuse. Additionally, law enforcement focused on preventing the theft of non-ferrous metals, batteries and rhino poaching. The operation also aimed to curb illicit mining and transportation of stolen goods, counterfeit items and undocumented persons.

These regular crime-combating operations play a crucial role in maintaining security and safety within the region, ensuring that criminal networks are disrupted and communities are protected.

The collaborative effort included various units within the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as provincial and municipal traffic officials, The SA National Parks (SANParks), the Department of Home Affairs (customs and immigration officers), the Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), and the Department of Employment and Labour. Additionally, officials from the National Bargaining Council engaged with truck drivers at roadblocks and truck stops.

These integrated operations were co-ordinated from a joint operational centre (JOC) located at the Central Karoo Disaster Management Centre, hosted by the Western Cape.

Spies said that law enforcement conducted a total of 34,406 searches during the operation. These searches included checks on more than 23,602 individuals, 14,387 vehicles and 268 identified premises. Additionally, officials visited 315 second-hand goods dealers, 39 recyclers and 168 scrap metal dealers, conducting rigorous compliance inspections.

According to Spies, the interprovincial cross-border operation yielded “significant successes”, resulting in a number of arrests. This included 31 arrests for property-related crimes, 37 arrests for contact crimes, 70 arrests for other serious crimes, 85 arrests for police-initiated interventions (possession or dealing in drugs and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition) and the arrest of 247 undocumented persons.

Other arrests varied from serious criminal offences such as murder and robberies to minor offences.

Another achievement was the arrest of 68 wanted suspects during tracing operations. Notably, a 34-year-old man linked to a robbery in Lady Grey, Eastern Cape, was arrested while passing through a static roadblock at a provincial exit point.

Spies added that during road safety operations, authorities arrested four suspects for drunken driving. Additionally, they issued 400 fines totalling R337,200 for road traffic violations. Furthermore, traffic officials impounded unroadworthy vehicles that posed a threat to other road users.


Spies explained further that the interprovincial operation commenced on Monday, June 17 with the confiscation of 493 mandrax tablets at a roadblock on the N7 near Nuwerus in the West Coast District. Simultaneously, an unlicensed firearm (revolver) was seized in Plettenberg Bay in the Garden Route District.

On Thursday, June 20, the police arrested two suspects, aged 53 and 64, after discovering a consignment of abalone estimated at R260,000 in their possession. The arrest occurred on the border between the Western and Eastern Cape along the N9 highway.

During an integrated operation in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Wednesday, June 19, authorities confiscated counterfeit goods valued at R1.1 million. The seized items included watches and clothing.

On June 18, law enforcement units deployed in Rouxville, in the Xhariep District of the Free State, conducted a roadblock on the N6 between Rouxville and Aliwal North. During the operation, they intercepted a 10-ton truck and discovered 146 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes. The driver, a 28-year-old Zimbabwean national, was arrested. He offered the police members a cash bribe for his release but was instead arrested for the possession of counterfeit goods and bribery.

The following day, June 19, the same forces operating in the Free State confiscated an additional 45 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes from a Toyota Quantum. A 40-year-old man was taken into custody.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, June 20, law enforcement forces deployed in the Free State confiscated five firearms along with 404 rounds of ammunition of various calibres. Four suspects, aged between 32 and 47, were unable to account for their possession and were subsequently arrested.

In the Northern Cape, a focus on spaza shops during compliance inspections resulted in the seizure of large quantities of medicine and tablets. In Springbok and Nababeep, officials confiscated 3,051 tablets and 32 small containers (50 millilitres each) of syrup packaged as Adcodol and Alergex. The estimated value of these items is approximately R500,000. The origin of these counterfeit goods is still under investigation.

Additionally, an intelligence-driven operation in Wrenchville, Northern Cape, led to the arrest of three suspects after copper cables valued at just over R100,000 were found in their vehicle.

Spies also noted that during the cross-border operation, there was a notable reduction in various crime categories. The absence of serious crimes in the districts bordering the four provinces can be attributed to the increased patrols and enhanced visibility along provincial borders.

All arrested individuals will appear in their respective regional courts once formally charged.

Spies concluded by saying that the provincial commissioners of the four provinces commended the command structure, deployed forces and participating counterparts for their unwavering commitment and diligence during the successful cross-border operation.

These integrated efforts continue to prioritise addressing and preventing priority crimes and ensuring the safety of both rural and urban communities, as well as road users. Similar operations will be conducted under “Operation Shanela” to maintain high visibility and safeguard the public.

Law enforcement officials conducted a total of 34,406 searches during the operation, including checks on more than 23,602 individuals, 14,387 vehicles and 268 identified premises. Picture: SAPS

The police confiscated firearms and rounds of ammunition during the operation. Pictures: SAPS

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