‘Poaching' policemen return to work

2012-06-28 00:00

CONSTABLES Sifiso Mbutho (34) and Goodman Shange (39) have returned to their jobs after they were arrested on Saturday morning for illegal hunting following the shooting of a buck.

The two Uvongo police officers were patrolling the area when they were caught by farmers who had heard gunshots go off.

The farmers had alerted Margate police who arrested the officers.

Mbutho and Shange appeared in the Ramsgate Magistrate’s Court on Monday and were charged with illegal hunting and defeating the ends of justice. The case was adjourned until July 20.

Police spokesperson Captain Gerald Mfeka said that the policemen were meant to be performing crime prevention duties when they were caught.

“They were in full police uniform using a police vehicle when they allegedly hunted and shot a buck in a sugarcane field.

“The two officers have returned to work while an internal disciplinary hearing against their conduct is under way.”

Mfeka added that the officers had no blemishes on their careers. The pregnant buck was shot in the neck and died shortly thereafter.

Craig Hesken, of the Crag’s View Wildlife Centre, which rehabilitates injured wildlife, said the shooting was not an isolated incident.

“It has happened before; this is certainly not the first time. I’ve heard of policemen and security companies shooting animals in the areas where they patrol. It happens at night when everyone is asleep and most of the time they get away with it.”

Hesken said it was unfortunate that some people abused their power and resorted to poaching.

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