Rhino man late for court

2014-12-08 16:56

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Mbombela - An Mpumalanga man accused of stealing rhino horns valued at more than R116m narrowly escaped re-arrest after arriving late for proceedings at the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Gideon Mtshali, 51, arrived in court at 11:20, after his co-accused, Leonard Sizwe Malatjie, 34, Velly William Zwane, 43, and Selby George Khoza, 39, had already appeared.

They all face charges of theft and housebreaking relating to the pieces of rhino horn stolen from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) offices in Mbombela.

Magistrate Willie Wilkins withdrew a warrant of arrest he had already issued against Mtshali and asked him why he failed to appear on time.

"I arrived in town early at around 08.30, but I could not get to the court early because I was stuck in traffic," Mtshali said.

Traffic was affected in some parts of Mbombela because of power cuts in the city between 09:00 and 11:00.

Mtshali and Malatjie were arrested on 6 and 7 June . Khoza was arrested in Pretoria, where he works, on 23 June. Zwane was arrested on 2 July after handing himself to the police.

Both Mtshali and Malatjie have pleaded not guilty to housebreaking and theft. Khoza and Zwane had not been asked to plead. They are all out on R20 000 bail each.

The case was postponed to 23 January for a regional court date to be set.

Read more on:    mtpa  |  mbombela  |  rhino poaching

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