Operation Phakisa executed in the coastal areas of the Namakwa region

NORTHERN CAPE - The multi-disciplinary initiative dubbed, Operation Phakisa which unlocks the potential of South Africa’s oceans was executed in Port Nolloth, Kleinsee, Vioolsdrift, Groenrivier, Alexander Bay and other coastal areas in the Namakwa region.

Illegal and unregulated harvesting activities and marine resources, including infrastructure which results in substantial economic, employment losses and impact on food security were addressed and policed.

Joint operations with external Law Enforcement Agencies and Departments were conducted since 08 June until 11 June 2022 to collectively exhibit optimum efficiency and effectiveness in addressing all forms of crime at sea and on land.

The operations were conducted under the overall command of the Acting Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Policing, Brigadier Hennie van Rensburg and included various SAPS units and components as well as members from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Inspectorate, Customs DDU and SANPARKS.

The Northern Cape SAPS Airwing assisted by the Free State Airwing conducted air patrols in support of ground forces.

Operation Phakisa specifically focused on the enhancement and coordinated compliance and enforcement of securing of the South African waters and coastal environment through an integrated multi-dimensional approach to ensure that the environment is conducive for the development of the ocean and economic security of the maritime zones.

The focus areas addressed during this operation, included illegal activities in relation to Marine related crimes and illicit mining. Actions and activities executed during the commencement of the operation on 09 June 2022 and concluded on 11 June 2022 included:

Stop and searches, vehicle check points, sea and beach patrols;

Compliance inspections to local businesses and mines;

Sea and air patrols were conducted by the SAPS Porter and Chopper;

Compliance inspections to aqua cultural farms focusing on illegal harvesting and recreational fishing;

Drug and other commodity smuggling and reptile smuggling and Compliance visits to the harbour, ports and docking bays.

Five (5) vehicle check points conducted on the Port Nolloth/ Alexander Bay road and between Port Nolloth/ Kleinzee road during which vehicles and persons were stopped and searched.

4 Males were arrested for dealing in drugs which included the seizure of TIK and mandrax tablets with an estimated street value of R13 065-00 , 7 undocumented male foreign nationals were detained , 1 male was arrested for possession of suspected uncut diamond, 1 fine was issued for the possession of mussels.

A truck load of over 2.3 ton of frozen catfish and hake was confiscated at the Vioolsdrift Border post on 10 June 2022 with an estimated value of R2, 5 million. The fish was handed back to the owner and he was fined R5000-00 for failing to produce all the required documents.

On 11 June 2022, 120 catfish was also confiscated and a fine was issued.

The operation was concluded with an assimilation showcasing the capabilities of SAPS when policing and responding to marine related crimes committed at sea. The Northern Cape Search and Rescue unit also had the opportunity of launching its newly procured 7,5 Ballistic SAPS vessel into the water.

The Acting Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Policing, Brig van Rensburg expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all SAPS units, external departments and law enforcement agencies for the collective disruptive actions and activities that were executed and conducted in an effort to police and protect the marine life and protected species along the coastal areas in the province.

Source: South African Police Service