Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Contemplating cargo...

I have been working on a feature article on drug trafficking which this week led me to the cop set-up at OR Tambo International Airport's cargo section. Those guys, I discovered, are pretty amazing and their work is really interesting. Although I imagine it could get boring once you get passed being surprised.
So photographer Taliban and I meet up with the unit boss and he escorts us into a high-up boardroom for our interview. Taliban makes himself at home on the floor in the very furthest corner as I begin with my questions. Apparently such strange distance and angles makes for interesting pics.
JJ: "So, Superintendent, what is your first name?".
He is obviously caught off-guard by this cunning question, posed so early in the process and stammers a bit.
Boss Guy: "Erm ... yes ... well, you can call me Steve."
JJ: "Yes, well I can call you anything. But the thing is, I actually need to know your name."
Boss Guy: "O ja. Okay. Well, these guys call me Steve. So just put it down as Steve."
Methinks someone is reluctant to reveal his name is Stephanus or Stoffel or something equally uncool.
So the interview gets underway and I learn some astounding stuff like:
* Drug syndicates have, in the past, got cocaine into the country by having it surgically implanted into dogs which are then imported to Jozi where they are killed by dealers wanting their stash.
* There is a huge market for stolen laptops in Nigeria.
* It is suspected that someone recently tried to smuggle dope in the corpse of someone who died overseas and had their body shipped home.
* Detectives have discovered that organised criminals are bringing in fake Zam-Buk and counterfeit Bic pens. This I found quite unbelievable because Bic pens are such plastic cheapie rubbish and I mean, who would want to buy genuine Zam-Buk and what would they do with it? I shared this interesting bit of info with my colleague Boulders who immediately hauls a fake Zam-Buk out of his pocket and tells me you buy it on the street for R5 a hit. (For my international reader *ahem*: that would be three fake Zam-Buks for one Euro or two for a US dollar).
There you go. Something new every day!


  1. Wow that's really interesting. But why would anyone buy fake zambuk when it's so cheap anyway?

  2. riiiiiiight... fake zambuk.
    well, ahem... i buy it- the real one that is- because nothing fixes cracked heals better than rubbing zambuk on every night after a bath or shower!

  3. Not sue I could tell proper Zambuk from the fake one!