Department notes US indictment

The Department of Environmental Affairs has noted the indictment of two South Africans by the United States Department of Justice. The indictment of the owners of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris is noted. We will monitor developments related to the case.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, assisted the US Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in their investigation. The Department understands that there is a criminal case against Dawie Groenewald and 10 co-accused who are expected to stand trial in South Africa in August 2015 on 1 872 charges including racketeering, the illegal trade in rhino horns, fraud, corruption, assault and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Legal action by the United States Attorney General’s Office comes less than a week after the Police and SANParks officials successfully apprehended 14 suspected rhino poachers in joint operations in the Kruger National Park.

“The success of the joint operations undertaken by the SAPS and SANParks is an example of the commitment of South Africa’s police and rangers to work together to eliminate rhino poaching from our country,” said the Department. The three highly successful operations had been undertaken in the Kruger National Park between Friday, 17 October 2014, and Sunday, 19 October 2014.

The arrest of the 14 suspected rhino poachers brought to 113 the total number of poachers arrested in the Kruger National Park so far this year. The Department is confident that joint operations such as these will send a strong message to all those intent on poaching any species, particularly rhino, in our national parks, provincial reserves and on private conservation land – which they will be caught and face the full might of the law.

The successful arrests in the Kruger National Park came as the number of rhino poached in South Africa since the start of 2014 increased to 899. The Kruger National Park continued to bear the brunt of rhino poaching in South Africa, having lost 581 animals since 1 January 2014. A total of 109 rhino have been poached in Limpopo, 74 in KwaZulu-Natal, 57 in Mpumalanga and 53 in North West. A second rhino has been poached in the Northern Cape.

Since January 2014, a total of 282 alleged rhino poachers have been arrested. Among these are alleged rhino poaching syndicate leader.

*South Africans are urged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211

 

Author: Petunia Thulo

Thulo has a degree in B.A Communications and Honors degree in Journalism. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Management and Development from the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. The focus study in her Masters degree is around Corporate Social Responsibility in the Mining sector. Thulo has worked in the newsrooms for some of the Media24 Community Newspapers both in the North West Province as well as in the Western Cape Province.

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