The Department of Environmental Affairs has welcomed the arrest of two men who were allegedly involved in smuggling 180 rhino horns weighing a total of 150kg to South East Asia.
Without the cooperation and collaboration of the general public, South Africa will not be able to win the battle against rhino poaching and the smuggling of rhino horn.
Petrus Stephanus Steyn (61) and Clive John Melville (57) appeared briefly in the Brits Magistrate’s Court on 15 April 2019 on charges related to the illegal trade in rhino horn. The case has been postponed to 26 April 2019 for a bail application.
The men were arrested near Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West province during an operation including members of the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Endangered Species Unit, Special Task Force, Tracker SA and Vision Tactical, following the receipt of information that a vehicle from a coastal province was carrying a considerable amount of horns. The rhino horns were allegedly destined for the South East Asian markets.
Although the domestic trade in rhino horn is legal when the necessary permits in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act have been obtained, the international commercial trade of rhinoceros horn is prohibited in terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The joint operation is yet another indication of the success of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros in South Africa, the government’s collaborative anti-poaching approach.
Members of the public wishing to report rhino poaching and environmental crimes can contact the Department’s hotline on 0800 205 005 or call 10111.