Poachers days are numbered

Pretoria: 19 August 2017 – During this past week, the Rhino 08 Poaching Task Team responsible for combating wildlife crimes throughout the country arrested five men, including a police officer, in two separate incidents and recovered several incriminating items.

On Saturday, 12 August 2017, the team was alerted to suspected poachers trying to exit the East gate of a game farm in an area of Limpopo. When they arrived at the said gate they found Captain Chris Du Plessis trying to escort three men, Martinus Jacobus Boschoff (32), Magiel Frederick Klopper (61) an Joseph Mkhokha (42) who had allegedly poached a giraffe.

The team questioned the Captain and on searching his vehicle they found one unlicensed revolver, 1 x 270 rifle barrel, one wooden rifle butt, approximately 70 rifle rounds and a 303 cartridge.

The three suspects were found in possession of a 303 hunting rifle, a silencer, a telescope and more than ten 303 rounds. The license to the 303 hunting rifle was confiscated. The Isuzu bakkie they were traveling in was also confiscated.

All three suspects appeared in the Hoedspruit Court on Monday, 14 August 2017 on a charge of “removal or movement of any controlled animal or thing across land in a controlled area without a permit”. They are expected to reappear in court on 28 August 2017 after they were all released on bail of R800 each.

The captain also appeared in Hoedspruit court on Monday, 14 August 2017 as well as on Thursday, 17 August 2017 and he has been remanded in custody until 28 August 2017 for a formal bail application.

In the meantime, following the arrests on 12 August 2017, the team was led to A Game Reserve this past Thursday where they arrested the fifth suspect, a 68 year old farm manager, Samuel Liversage.

The farm was searched and 10 rhino horns, two elephant tasks, 11 rifles of which four are unlicensed, over 1300 rounds of live ammunition and over 150 empty cartridges were recovered. All 11 rifles were confiscated to be taken for ballistic testing

This suspect appeared in the Lenyenye Magistrate’s Court in the Tzaneen area, Limpopo on 2017-08-18 and the suspect has been remanded in custody until 24 August for bail hearing