Woman farm owner bust ‘soliciting cash’ for stolen vehicles to cross to Lesotho
The Hawks have led a sting operation to arrest a woman in Fouriesburg, in the Free State, who allegedly set up a “tollgate” — charging car thieves and illegal immigrants to use her property to cross into SA and re-enter Lesotho.
Lt-Col Philani Nkwalase said a multidisciplinary, intelligence-driven operation was conducted in the early hours of Thursday by a Hawks team assisted by Crime Intelligence, the Tactical Response Team and the military.
The woman and an accomplice were arrested for alleged corruption.
Nkwalase said the Hawks had acted on information that she had “graded sand from her farm across the border for illegal cross-border activities, which includes crossing of illegal immigrants and hijacked and stolen vehicles.”
“A covert operation was conducted by Hawks members who needed to cross the border using her ‘tollgate’.
“She agreed and demanded R1,000 for a stolen vehicle to cross. Cash was paid and the suspects [the farm owner and an accomplice, aged 28] were immediately arrested.”
They will appear at the Fouriesburg magistrate’s court on Monday.
“The investigation to link them to other serious cases is continuing,” Nkwalase said.
A source told TimesLIVE the 38-year-old farm owner is the widow of a SA citizen who died four or five months ago. The source said she is alleged to be a Lesotho national who also holds a SA ID.
“You have to pass through her farm to get to the river. You can then either pass over to Lesotho or you can come to SA. She would allow people with stolen vehicles to pass through the river and if they got stuck, she would help them through,” he alleged.