Poaching protest postponed as case delayed
Johannesburg - An intended AfriForum protest outside the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court, where eight people were expected to appear in connection with rhino poaching, was postponed on Wednesday.
"AfriForum has postponed its protest action due to the fact that the case against the eight accused… will not go ahead in the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court today," Julius Kleynhans, head of the group's environmental affairs, said in a statement.
People had approached the organisation to take action against this crime, Kleynhans said.
Three vets and five other men were expected to appear in court in connection with the wrongful possession and distribution of scheduled veterinary drugs commonly used in rhino poaching.
They face charges of contravening the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act.
The accused are Douw Grobler, formerly head of the Kruger National Park's wildlife capturing and veterinary services unit, state vet Buti John Chibase, and private vet Johannes Gerhardus Kruger.
The other five are professional hunter Hugo Ras, and Matthys Christoffel Scheepers, Riaal Booysen, Johan Carl Heydenrych, and Christoffel Francois Naude.
All were arrested between August and November last year.
Kleynhans said the case had been transferred to the Pretoria North Regional Court and postponed to June.
A total of 443 rhinos were poached in 2011, and 150 had been poached before the end of March.
"AfriForum is going ahead with our anti-rhino poaching campaign as planned," Kleynhans said.