By More Matshediso
Pretoria — A police constable and his eight accomplices are expected to appear before the Modimolle Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of attempted rhino poaching and possession of unlicensed firearm.
Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said the police constable and eight other suspects were arrested on Sunday morning for attempted rhino poaching at a private game farm in Rakin's Pass.
He said the constable worked under the Crime Prevention Unit at Hillbrow police station in Gauteng.
"Three suspects, two Mozambicans and one Zimbabwean national, were arrested inside the farm ready to poach rhinos," Mulaudzi said.
He added that two other suspects, a local resident and a Botswana woman, were arrested outside the farm just after offloading the poaching trio.
Mulaudzi added that another three suspects [South Africans\ were arrested at Vaalwater where they waited for rhino horns with a getaway vehicle.
"A .375 hunting rifle with serial number filed off, a silencer, an axe, an Toyota Tazz and a Nissan Hardbody vehicle were seized," Muladzi said.
Measures against rhino poaching
Recently, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said SA would continue to push strategies to stabilise the rhino population.
She said SA is home to 82% of Africa's rhino - both black and white - 93% of Africa's white rhino and 39% of Africa's black rhino.
Minister Molewa said government is cognisant of the fact that rhino poaching is a multibillion dollar worldwide illicit trade. This, she said, was the reason they would put in more emphasis on the Integrated Strategic Management approach to save rhinos from poachers.
"... That is why we will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species," Minister Molewa said at the time.
Meanwhile, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega announced that she had directed a team of detectives trained in wildlife crime investigations, forensics experts, the SA Police Service air wing, the flying squad and the dog unit to assist with current investigations on poaching.
"This additional team will attend to all the outstanding and new crime scenes and continue to do proper crime scene investigation and management," said Phiyega at the time
She pleaded with communities living around game reserves to continue playing their role in helping police arrest the poachers.
She warned that poachers were becoming more sophisticated in their methods to poach rhinos.
"It is our ultimate objective to establish a long term solution to drastically reduce the incidents of rhino poaching," she said.