The Lephalale Regional Court in Limpopo Province, South Africa has fined a 39-year-old Zambian truck driver R60,000, in default fours years imprisonment for smuggling skin bleaching creams into that country.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has expressed concern over the increasing number of cases Zambians are facing regarding banned skin creams, soaps and related products.
According to a statement issued by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa Naomi Nyawali, Thursday, George Kangwa a truck driver, was arrested at Martins Drift Border Control as he was entering South Africa through Botswana.
She added that Kangwa was convicted after being found guilty of smuggling skin bleaching creams into that country.
“George Kangwa a truck driver, was convicted by the Lephalale Regional Court in Limpopo Province. He was arrested at Martins Drift Border Control as he was entering South Africa through Bostwana. Mr Kangwa’s conviction brings the number of Zambia national convicted in that country to four in the last one month. He was fined R60,000 or in default to serve fours years in jail. Mr Kangwa risks a four year jail term if he fails to pay the fine of R60,000.00,” Nyawali stated.
She however, added that the truck belonging to Kangwa’s employers was not forfeited to the State as the court established that the driver carried the items in his own capacity.
Nyawali explained that South Africa had banned the importation of bleaching creams that contained mercury, hydroquinone and other banned substances in that country.
“According to the World Health Organisation, skin bleaching using soaps or creams containing chemicals such as mercury and hydroquinone can cause diverse health effects on the human body,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba expressed concern over the increasing number of cases Zambians were facing regarding banned skin creams, soaps and related products.
He warned that the consequences were severe, adding that in many cases the importers besides facing long jail sentences, risked the forfeiture of the vessels they were using such as buses or trucks.
Mwamba advised bus services and truck drivers to ensure that no passengers carried banned substances and that they followed the law especially on bleaching creams and other prohibited merchandise.