WESTERN CAPE – Nine (9) Marine inspectors from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) along with several abalone syndicate members appeared at the Hermanus Magistrate’s Court facing charges ranging from racketeering, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
The suspects were arrested in an operation by the Hawks assisted by TRT, Task Force, AFU and DAFF. The charges stem from the alleged abalone syndicate that operated in Overberg areas. The illegal activities of the group were under the Hawks radar for almost two years.
DAFF officials allegedly colluded with abalone poachers by illegally selling back the seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipment.
The case against all suspects was remanded to 14 March 2018 for bail application, suspects remain in custody and more arrests are imminent as investigation continues.
Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Officials:- Zihle Diko (38) , Winston Mervin Busch (36) Craven Siyabulela Mxaku (42) Linda Nkeleni (42), John Karelse (48), Allistair Maans (42), Nomvuyo Concellia Motloung (43) Adam Baadjies (36) Rudolph Louw (35)
Syndicate Members:-, Richard George Malan (49), Dennis John Swartz (37), Donovan Williams (33), Eugene Herandien (44), Courtley May (41), Solomon Sauls (45), Frederick Myburgh (46) and Preston Julies (48).
Meanwhile, Ronnie Morne Wildschutt (36), Daphne Cecilia Malan (33), were arrested during the same operation albeit in an unrelated case of possession of illegal firearm.