Rhinos: More 'Groenewald gang' arrests

2010-10-07 21:50

Johannesburg - Two more people allegedly linked to a rhino poaching syndicate were arrested and 20 rhino carcasses were recovered from the Groenewald game farm in Musina on Thursday, the Hawks said.

"The two were arrested from (sic) the farm and they brought the number of the so called Groenewald gang to 13.

"We also recovered 20 carcasses buried in the farm," said Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi.

Zondi said the two had appeared before the Musina Magistrate's Court.

They were professional hunter Gys du Preez, 31, and Joseph Maluleka, 39, a farm worker.

Eleven people, including two veterinarians, a pilot and a game farmer, all allegedly part of the same syndicate, appeared in the Musina Magistrate's Court last week.

The accused were alleged to be part of a syndicate which operated around Polokwane, Modimolle and Musina, and had been involved in rhino poaching and killing, the selling of the horns and disposing of the carcasses.

They were granted bail, ranging from R20 000 to R1m. Game farmer Dawie Groenewald was released on R1m bail and his wife Sariette on R100 000 bail.

Veterinarian Karel Toet was released on R50 000 bail, his wife Mariza on R20 000, and his colleague, veterinarian Manie du Plessis, also on R20 000.

The other accused, professional hunter Tielman Roos Erasmus, Dewald Gouws, Nardus Rossouw, Leon van der Merwe, and Jacobus Martinus Pronk, were released on R20 000 bail each, and Paul Matomela on R5 000.

The case was postponed to April 11 2011.

More than 200 rhinos had been killed for their horns since the beginning of this year - up from a total of 122 poached last year.