Authorities swooped on a house in the upmarket Port Elizabeth suburb of Lovemore Heights on Thursday morning to seize assets of suspected rhino poachers, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
The seized horn, valued at around R180,000, was positively linked to a poaching incident at Buckland’s Game Reserve where an adult white rhino bull, Campbell, was killed.
“The respondents have been positively linked to 11 poaching incidents during the period 19 October 2013 to 17 June 2016 in the Eastern Cape. They have also been linked to three poaching incidents in Hoedspruit, as well to other incidents in Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape,” said NPA spokesman Tsepo Ndwalaza.
Zimbabwean nationals Jabulani Ndlovu, Sikumbuza Ndlovu and Forget Ndlovu, were arrested in Grahamstown in June and remain in custody awaiting trial.
Ndwalaza said that no poaching of rhino with a dart gun was reported nationally since the arrest and incarceration of the suspects.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) secured a preservation order in the Port Elizabeth High Court which was carried out during the early hours of Thursday morning.
Ndwalaza said two women, who are believed to be relatives of the suspects, were at the rented house during the raid. He said after much persuasion officials were granted access to the home
Authorities seized a VW Golf GTI, R18,500 in cash, and an unspecified amount of cash held in a bank account.
“The consequence of the order is that the assets are preserved in the interim. The respondents have 14 days within which to oppose where after the property will be sold.
“The AFU is grateful for the order granted by the High Court which hopefully will send out a clear and unequivocal message that poaching of any kind will not be countenanced by law enforcement agencies. We are also hopeful that the respondents will be convicted and given an appropriate sentence,” said Ndwalaza.
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