R55 million assets seized from poachers
MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL JOINT OPERATIONAL CENTRE
joint security forces including the Endangered Species of the Hawks, the NPA, the
Asset Forfieture Unit, Department of Environmental
affairs and the curators made a huge stride in our undying effort to thwart
rhino poaching in
September 2010 the aforementioned accused were officially charged with 1872
counts of racketeering which makes it one of the biggest wildlife cases in
The joint security forces which also includes the SAPS, SANDF and SANPARKS have worked tirelessly over the years to bring rhino poachers to book. Since January this year 99 people were arrested for rhino related matters country wide. It is imperative to mention these cases to indicate the extent of the the problem of rhino poaching.
A Zimbabwean citizen Rogers Mukwene
was arrested for the illegal possession of three rhino horns in Kameeldrift,
Rogers Mukwene’s brother was arrested for bribery. This happened after he offered to pay the investigation officer R10 000-00 for the release of Rogers Mukwene on bail.
Thabazimbi, Limpopo Lucas Malema and Lucas Novela were arrested for attempting to poach rhino on a game farm. They were found in possession of a 375 hunting rifle as well as a 9mm pistol.
Assen, (North West): Manual Simango, Lucky Baloyi, Andries Mhlanga, Mr Ratshivhombelia, Deon Nkozi were arrested for the illegal possession of a 5,57 firearm and 2 x vehicles recovered while they were attempting to poach rhino on a game farm.
Vaalwater, (Limpopo): Bandam Manyaradzi (Zimbabwean), Goodman Molambo (Zimbabwean) and Oupa Jan Majadibodu were arrested for conspiracy to illegally hunt rhinos, theft of a firearm, theft of a 2-way police radio, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition as well as unlawful possession of dangerous weapons.
In Beestekraal, North West Province, Lucky Selepe, Manhique Eliasse Themba @ Manyeka a Mozambique citizen, Mathussi Alberto John (a Mozambican citizen) were arrested for attempting to hunt rhino on a game farm. A .3006 rifle and 4 rounds plus an axe were recovered.
Sabie Sands, (
One on the most prominent and notorious syndicates led by JosephNyalunga and 8 others were arrested on the 2 March 2012 outside Hazyview. During the operation over R 5 million rand in cash was seized from his house in Mhulu, hidden in a trunk in his garage. Several firearms, knifes and vehicles were seized from the suspects.
A Chinese syndicate responsible for the buying of
rhino horns in
In middle March an operation was conducted by all
Interpol countries with the aim to curb rhino horn smuggling. In
These cases depict the widespread challenge of rhino poaching. On the other hand, the efforts of the joint
security forces should be acknowledged because several accused were caught as they were attempting to poach rhino. It is against this backdrop that we welcome the seizure of assets and call for assets of every person arrested to be scrutinized and where possible, seized. The seizure of the assets of rhino poaching accused is what we believe will hurt the most. Generally, those that commit such crimes will serve their sentences but still come back to a life of luxury by by seizing assets, criminals have no worldly possessions to enjoy and this certainly helps send out a clear message that crime does not pay.
Thus far the Endangered Species Unit within the HAWKS have secured a total of 10 convictions amounting to a consolidated total of 111 years imprisonment in respect of these 10 accused.
The above convictions highlight successes during 2012. However for the period February 2011 to March 2012 convictions followed in 8 cases for the illegal possession of rhino horns, convictions were obtained in 4 cases for the illegal dealing in rhino horns and convictions for the illegal hunting of rhinos were obtained in 6 cases. In only 8 of these cases the accused sentenced to a fine. However in 12 of these cases the accused were sentenced to direct imprisonment without an option of a fine.
Only 7 accused had been acquitted during this period.
Court roll status
Currently 57 cases are on the court roll in which 161 accused are charged. 65 of these accused are held in custody while 96 accused have been released on bail.
Vishnu Naidoo - Colonel
South African Police Service
Cell: 082 567 4153
Fax: +2712-400 7018
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