Policeman and another man suspected of rhino poaching arrested in KZN

Durban - Two suspected rhino poachers, one of them a police constable, 22, were arrested on the N2 near Pongola on Tuesday morning, police said.

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said a team comprising members of the South African Police Service’s Rhino Poaching Project Team, the Kruger National Park authorities and Ezemvelo Wildlife responded to intelligence of possible rhino poachers heading towards one of the national parks.

“The team stopped a sedan, belonging to the policeman, on the N2 within the Pongola area and found two men in possession of an R1 rifle, a silencer, several rounds of ammunition, axes and knives,” Naidoo said. 

The weapons, as well as the sedan, have been confiscated.  The R1 rifle was reported stolen in Pretoria West in November 1996, said Naidoo.

Both the suspects are expected to appear in the Pongola Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, he said. 

KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, applauded the police for their sterling work in arresting the suspects “in possession of dehorning equipment”. 

"Rhino poaching is one of our main focuses in dealing with cross-border crime in the province. We are pleased with this latest arrest by the police, as it demonstrates that government has declared zero tolerance on rhino poaching," said Kaunda.

Kaunda said, since President Jacob Zuma's visit to Manguzi in April this year to address cross-border crime, police had made significant breakthroughs in reducing the levels of crime, including car theft, armed robberies and rhino poaching along the Golela and Lubombo border posts.

"It is encouraging that even members of the SAPS who are colluding with criminals in the area are not spared," said Kaunda.

In May, the Hawks arrested 11 police officers implicated in various criminal activities in the area.

Kaunda commended the members of the community in the area for sharing information with the police, which led to the arrest of the suspected rhino poachers.

"Let us close ranks and eradicate all forms of crime in our communities," said Kaunda.

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