Minister of Environmental Affairs welcomes the arrest of alleged rhino poachers

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The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has hailed the arrest of two people in Gauteng for allegedly dealing in rhino horn as an affirmation of the need for greater multi-sectoral collaboration to address rhino poaching.

Mandla Mashele, 37, and Kelvin Malapane, 38, have been charged with illegally buying rhino horn in contravention in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA).

They handed themselves over to the Benoni police last week following a raid on a premises in Daveyton in Gauteng in May.  The men appeared in court on 30 May 2018 and were granted bail of R50 000 each.  The case has been postponed to 13 July 2018 for further investigation.

Minister Molewa has congratulated the investigating team comprising the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks), the Environmental Management Inspectorate (Green Scorpions)  and SANParks for the breakthrough that led to the arrests.

“This two-year investigation resulted in the team being able to identify the criminal supply chain and receivers of rhino horn in Gauteng – a prime example of the winning formula of the Integrated Strategic Management Approach Cabinet adopted in 2014.”

The implementation plan for the Integrated Strategic Management Approach lays the foundations for the Department’s anti- rhino poaching efforts; bolstered by the SAPS Draft National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. The number of rhino poached in South Africa has been on a steady decline, largely the result of the success of this approach.

The Minister added that the arrest and conviction of those suspected of rhino poaching and associated activities sends a strong message that this crime will not be tolerated.