Man killed by elephant may have been cigarette smuggler

Johannesburg - A man trampled to death by an elephant in Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site in Limpopo may have been part of an illegal cigarette smuggling syndicate.

Eyewitness News reported on Tuesday that police are investigating the case.

A SA National Parks (SANParks) official told EWN that a number of people have been seen trespassing in the park, and others trading in illegal cigarettes have passed through the park.

The park is on the border of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

On Monday, it was reported that the man was found with a Zimbabwean passport and cellphone in his possession.

Rangers believed he had been with a group of people because a number of footprints were visible in the vicinity.

Earlier this year it was reported that one in three cigarettes smoked in the country each day is illegal. Since 2010, the government has lost more than R18bn in taxes due to the illicit cigarette trade.

About 38% of these illegal cigarettes are smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe, while the rest are manufactured locally.