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Zimbabwe releases SA-bound plane

It’s reported the plane was carrying at least R20 billion and a corpse believed to be that of a stowaway.

Harare International Airport. Picture: Google Earth/Alexander Lapshin/Panaramio

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Reserve Bank has confirmed a consignment carrying cash on a plane that landed in Harare has arrived in the country and is safe in the control of the bank.

The cargo plane, which made an unscheduled stop in Harare last week, arrived at the Air Force Base at Waterkloof yesterday.

The Reserve Bank says it cooperated with both Zimbabwean and South African authorities in securing the release of the consignment.

The Sunday Times is reporting the plane was carrying at least R20 billion and a corpse believed to be that of a stowaway.

The paper says International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had to talk to her Zimbabwean counterpart after customs officials demanded the aircraft pay penalties for landing in Harare without paying permission.

Under Zimbabwean law, the consignment had to be offloaded and scanned but South Africa apparently resisted this and offered to send dozens of soldiers to guard the plane, raising further tension.

The paper says the plane flew from Uganda to Belgium and then to Germany where the money was loaded before departing to South Africa.

In a statement released yesterday the Reserve Bank stressed that the process of printing South African currency abroad and transporting it into the country is the normal course of operations.