Two more suspects arrested for rhino poaching related crimes will appear in court after members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Parks (SANParks) rangers arrested
them in two separate incidents in Mpumalanga.
Carlos Mathebula (34) will appear at the Skukuza Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 10 June 2015 and Margaret Mthetwa (41) will appear at the Pienaar Magistrates’ Court on Friday 19 June 2015. Mathebula was arrested by SANParks rangers on Saturday 30 May 2015 in Skukuza and Mthetwa was arrested by SAPS members on Tuesday 2 June 2015.
Mathebula, a Mozambican national, was charged with possession of an illegal firearm, possession of illegal ammunition, and trespassing after a 458 hunting rifle with the serial number filed off and two 458 live rounds were found in his possession during his arrest. When SANParks rangers spotted Mathebula in the Kruger National Park, he allegedly pointed the rifle at them in an attempt to escape. He was subsequently shot at and injured. His case was heard in absentia at the Skukuza Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 3 June 2015 because of the injuries he sustained during the pursuit and subsequent shooting. The case was remanded to today, 10 June 2015.
Mthethwa was arrested in Zwelisha, Pienaar, where she was charged with possession of ammunition, possession of rhino poaching equipment and possession of cash not accounted for. During her arrest, SAPS members found five 3.75mm rounds, an axe with blood stains, a pocket scale and a large sum of money unaccounted for. She appeared in the Pienaar Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 3 June 2015 and was released on bail. Her case was remanded to 19 June 2015.
The illegal killing of rhinos and the illegal trade in rhino horns is a priority crime for the SAPS. These arrests are an indication that the task teams that were formed to deal with rhino poaching related crimes are hard at work and their work is indeed bearing fruit. Curbing environmental crimes, particularly rhino poaching, is a hard battle to be fought but fight we shall.