Mpumalanga police yesterday recovered two trucks near the Komatipoort border gate moments before vehicle smugglers were to have driven them into Mozambique.
Acting on a tip-off, police ambushed the smugglers at Steenbok near Komatipoort.
Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi said: "At about 3am our officers who were patrolling in the Steenbok area saw the trucks and gave chase.
"When the drivers noticed the blue police lights and heard the sirens they drove into the nearby bushes, left the trucks with their doors ajar and disappeared into the bush.
"It was not easy to drive the trucks out of the bush as it was dark and dangerous and we were not sure whether the smugglers were watching."
Nyambi said the truck with a trailer was reportedly hijacked in Springs, Ekurhuleni, and the other one was stolen at Grootvlei in Mpumalanga.
Nyambi said the vehicle smugglers were running sophisticated syndicates that operated from different countries in the SADC countries.
No arrests have been made.