|The South African Police Service is continuing to close the net on suspected rhino poachers in our ongoing efforts to prevent and combat wildlife-related crime in South Africa. Over this past week, several suspected rhino poachers were arrested in the Skukuza area of Mpumalanga and in the Pongola area, North of KwaZulu-Natal.
Members from a police task team arrested 10 suspects between 13 and 19 February 2017 for offences ranging from the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition to possession of suspected stolen property.
The suspects, aged between 24 and 51 years, were arrested during operations in and around the Kruger National Park and in Pongola.
While effecting the arrests the team confiscated six rifles of various calibres, two silencers, two cell phones, axes and several rounds of ammunition.
The suspects were charged with possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, trespassing in a national park and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Carlito Maswanganye (29 years) and Peter Mhlongo (40 years) appeared in the Skukuza Magistrates’ Court in relation to the unlawful possession of a firearm (rifle) and ammunition, trespassing and conspiracy to commit an offence. They were remanded in custody until 22 February 2017 to allow for further investigations.
Thokozani Emanuel Mngomezulu (44 years), Sandile Jabulani Gumede (33 years) and Sandile Victor Khoza (38 years) were also charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm (rifle) and ammunition after being arrested outside the Pongola Nature Reserve. They appeared in court for a second time on 21 February 2017 formal bail application and this matter is continuing in court today.
Service Amos Leyane (51 years) was arrested in the Makoko area in Mpumalanga after he was found in possession of a variety of rifle rounds. He was remanded in custody until 27 March 2017 after appearing in the Insikazi Magistrates’ Court on 16 February 2017.
Sizwe Nkosi (31 years) was arrested and charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and conspiracy to commit an offence after he was found in possession of a rifle, a silencer, ammunition and an axe.
Ronnie Linokhule Sambo (24 year), Sabelo Lawrence Sambo (26 years) and Bonganoe Bheki Nkuna (24 years) appeared in the Skukuza Mangistrates’ Court yesterday, 21 February 2017 on charges relating to the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, illegal hunting and conspiracy to commit an offence. The case has been remanded to 1 March 2017.
The arrest of these ten suspects brings to 24 the number of suspects arrested over the past two weeks.