South Africans held in Zim for smuggling sables – report

2015-09-13 13:00

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Harare - Police in southern Zimbabwe have arrested three South Africans who they say were trying to smuggle 29 sables across the border, state media reported on Sunday.

The official Sunday Mail said the animals were worth $348 000 and were being transported in two trucks from a conservancy in Zimbabwe's arid lowveld region allegedly towards an undesignated border crossing with South Africa.

They were arrested on Saturday when the trucks got stuck in mud near Beitbridge, the paper said.

"The South Africans had no capture and translocation permits and had no export permits for the sables. The only documentation they had was a movement permit issued by the department of veterinary services, Hwange office," national parks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo told the Sunday Mail. Hwange is nearly 700km from Beitbridge.

The report named the three as Edwin Hewitt, aged 49, Hendricks Johannes Blignaut aged 41 and John Herbert Pretorius aged 49. They are due to appear in court this week.

South Africa's international relations and co-operation department told News24 it was not aware of the situation, adding that its embassy was closed and it would not be able to get more information before Monday.

They are alleged to have entered the country through the small Pandamatenga Border Post between Zimbabwe and Botswana. There were no other details.

There are few other recorded attempts of would-be game smuggling in recent years, though a South African businessman who repeatedly flouted border control regulations by flying his helicopter in and out of his ranch in southern Zimbabwe has regularly made the news.

Frikkie Lutzkie had a seven year jail sentence quashed by the High Court in May. The official Chronicle reported on August 24 that Lutzkie had just been deported after he tried to enter Zimbabwe again, this time through an airport in Bulawayo.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  crime  |  southern africa  |  animals

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