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