A multidisciplinary rhino poaching task team arrested 50 suspects between the ages of 24 and 58 years and recovered 13 rhino horns, two elephant tusks and 19 hunting rifles during ongoing police operations in various parts of the country over the past two months.
The team, also recovered 15 silencers, two pistols, one shotgun and 155 rounds of ammunition, among various other items of evidential value, during the operations.
As per standard procedure, the rifles and pistols were sent to the SAPS’s Forensic Science Laboratory in Pretoria for ballistic testing, primarily to determine if they had been used to commit other crimes.
The suspects appeared in various courts across the three provinces for charges ranging from the possession of unlicensed firearms, conspiracy to commit crime, the possession of counterfeit goods, illegal hunting, the possession of rhino horns, the possession of protected endangered species and the possession of elephant tasks.
Meanwhile, on 5 June 2017, the police in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa in Limpopo arrested three members of a suspected cross-border rhino poaching syndicate linked to two cases of rhino poaching in the Hoedspruit policing area.
This is yet another major breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching after these suspects were arrested earlier in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. Jabulani Ndlovu, aged 39, and Forget Ndlovu and Skhumbuzo Ndlovu, both aged 37, were found in the possession of a firearm, which connected them to more than 60 cases of rhino poaching countrywide. Two of these cases were found to be committed in Hoedspruit.
These men appeared in the Hoedspruit Magistrate’s Court and their cases were remanded to 12 June 2017. All three suspects have been denied bail.
This is a milestone achievement for the police and other role players in the fight against rhino poaching, especially in Limpopo. Anyone who has information on the people involved in these crimes, may contact their nearest police station, the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or SMS 32211.