POTCHEFSTROOM – The war on rhino poachers continues successfully with another suspected rhino poacher arrested on a game lodge near Rustenburg, South Africa, yesterday. The suspect has been identified as a police constable, and has possible links to the rhino poaching incidents that have plagued Pilanesberg.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) said that the 33-year-old suspect was arrested during a Crime Intelligence Operation on the evening of Tuesday, 14 January 2019.
“Members of Provincial Organised Crime intercepted four suspects, who were allegedly in the process of poaching rhinos at a Game Lodge in Boitekong, near Rustenburg,” said SAPS in a media statement.
Once the suspects realised they were being cornered, three of them managed to escape into thick surrounding bushes.
However police managed to successfully arrest the fourth man who had been the driver of their vehicle, a VW Polo, said Colonel Adéle Myburgh in a statement.
Upon further investigation, the suspect was identified as Police Constable Amukelani Nkuna.
Nkuna appeared before the Thlabane Magistrates’ Court on Thursday for the alleged conspiracy to Commit Rhino Poaching. He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Friday, 24 January 2020, said the statement.
“Furthermore the suspects are possibly linked to more cases of rhino poaching reported in Pilanesberg and more arrests are eminent,” revealed the statement.
Rhino poaching is fuelled by a myth that the horn has medicinal qualities to cure everything from a cold to cancer; and by a snobbish desire to own the horn as a status symbol (called “the Ferrari factor” by Pilanesberg).
Last year, after yet another tragic poaching incident in which Pilanesberg lost a white rhino bull, the Nature Reserve called on the public to do its bit to fight rhino poaching by spreading awareness to dispel the myths.
“This murdering of animals will never end unless the demand ends. It is up to each one of us to create awareness,” Pilanesberg said.
The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, today congratulated the team for the arrest.
He said that it is disappointing when a police member is arrested for the alleged conspiracy to commit a crime, but that unlawful and corrupt conduct will not be tolerated.