Alex Mitchley and Mduduzi Mtakati
1 minute read
20 Jan 2016
5:00 am

Bail postponed for poaching accused

Alex Mitchley and Mduduzi Mtakati

“The (value of the) seized items, including the money, is estimated at R6 million.”

Melissa Weavind and Miranda Jordan from Activists for Animals Africa, pose for a picture outside the Roodepoort Magistrates Court, Johannesburg where 12 suspects were set to appear in connection with the dealing of Rhino horn. The syndicate was arrested with 13 illegal firearms, scales, an electrical hacksaw, four rhino horns and R1.1million rand cash. Picture: Alaister Russell

The bail application of two suspects, who are among 12 believed to be part of a rhino poaching syndicate, was postponed in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court yesterday with a decision to be made later this month.

The suspects were arrested in Gauteng and North West during a joint operation (Operation Ringleader) dealing with rhino poaching last year.

“During the operation, the officials found and confiscated 13 illegal firearms (eight rifles and five pistols), three small scales, one electrical hacksaw, four rhino horns, chopped rhino horns, R1.1 million in cash and eight luxury vehicles,” said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

“The (value of the) seized items, including the money, is estimated at R6 million.”

Four suspects, three of them police officers, have already been granted bail.

The suspects are facing charges of money laundering and racketeering‚ possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition and corruption.

According to Activists for Animals Africa, the syndicate has been the subject of an investigation since 2013 and is alleged to  have contributed to the illegal poaching of rhinos and illicit dealing in rhino horns in Klerksdorp‚ Rustenburg‚ Pretoria and Johannesburg.