CAPE TOWN – The Hawks say that the 706kg worth of uncut cocaine that was seized at Coega Harbour near Port Elizabeth this week is likely to be worth up to R1 billion.
The drugs were seized on a ship in a multi-disciplinary operation at the Port of Ngqura in the Port Elizabeth area on Monday afternoon.
The vessel with the hidden drugs has been on the Hawks’ radar following a tip-off from Interpol in late December.
Hawks spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi explains that the cocaine was still to be processed when South African officials found the hidden cocaine during the raid.
“These drugs were still going to be processed, so there’s the possibility that it could even reach R1 billion. It just goes to show the magnitude of the drugs that were going to be made in India.”
The Eastern Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Development Lubabalo Mubuyane says South African ports are to be used for economic growth and not the destruction of our citizens.
“Drug abuse and other things are killing our society and we can’t allow this to go on unabated. We need a collective effort from everyone to make sure that we fight this kind of criminality.”
Authorities are now keeping tabs on all points of entry, including courier companies, in case of retaliation for this week’s major cocaine bust.
The Hawks say that whichever cartel is responsible might retaliate by trying to send even more drugs to South Africa.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwana Mulaudzi says he hopes this seize sends a strong message to international drug smugglers.
“We have taken these drugs away from this cartel, so of course they won’t be happy. We might be expecting something from them, maybe they’ll retaliate and bring more drugs into the country through other means. For us to have this operation, its ens a strong message to this cartel, whoever they are, that South Africa is not a harbour for drugs.”