Cele muzzles police on rhino poaching

2011-09-11 15:42

Skukuza - The office of National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele has banned all provincial and regional police communication officers from commenting on issues concerning rhino poaching.

The ban followed the death of two suspected rhino poachers who were killed during a shoot-out with South African National Defence Force soldiers in the Kruger National Park on Thursday.

On Friday, provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi refused to comment on the shoot-out and referred all questions to national police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer.

“I suggest you telephone the national office for comment because we are not allowed to comment on stories concerning rhino poaching,” Hlathi told African Eye News Service (AENS) on Friday.

Hlathi's senior, Brigadier Lindelani Mashego confirmed that local or provincial police were no longer allowed to comment on rhino poaching incidents.

"There's an agreement between the affected parties and other government departments that the issue of rhino poaching has to be communicated through the national office of the police.

"The national office has come up with a joint operation working with the intelligence and they are the ones who are handling questions from the media about rhino poaching issues," said Mashego.  

20 suspected rhino poachers killed

However, when AENS contacted De Beer, she also refused to comment on the grounds that the police did not release a statement concerning the matter.

“The Kruger National Park should comment,” said De Beer.

Attempts to get SANDF joint tactical head office provincial spokesperson Captain Albert Mathonsi to comment were futile.

"We don't speak to the media, we are only here to assist the police deal with rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park," said Mathonsi.

South African National Parks (SANParks) spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli confirmed that two suspected poachers were killed on Thursday following a shoot-out with soldiers.

"The shoot-out ensued after three armed men confronted the soldiers and started firing without uttering a word. One of the soldiers was short in the leg and the soldiers shot back, killing the two men and injuring the other one,” said Thakhuli.

He said an AK-47 and a hunting rifle were seized from the scene.

Thakhuli said at least 20 suspected rhino poachers had been killed this year alone while 69 were arrested.

This year, more than 159 rhino have been killed in the Kruger alone. Altogether, about 150 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve has suggested that rhino horns be poisoned to deter poachers.

The idea was put forward during discussions held at Kromdraai, outside Pretoria, last week.

Reserve spokesperson Lorinda Hern said poisoning rhino horns may reduce the demand in Asian countries, where rhino horn is used for medicinal purposes, most notably as an aphrodisiac.

  • PMG - 2011-09-11 15:57

    Is that clown Cele still in office - shouldn't he be in the slammer.

      Ripley - 2011-09-11 16:00

      The rumour is that he's on leave again - hunting rhino somewhere.

      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 16:57

      PLEASE DON'T TELL ME Bheki CELE(bi) is also involved in the whole RHINO POACHING SCENARIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hense the "SILENCE OF THE RHINO'S"???

      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 18:12

      Any bets the so called "POACHERS" that were shot dead, were actual POLICE.... involved in CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES of course!

  • Wayne - 2011-09-11 15:59

    He's afraid his name might come up somewhere. He shouldn't worry. All he has to say is "Wasn't me" and all will be forgiven. Take a shower.

  • CtC - 2011-09-11 16:10

    Poison the horns.....Brilliant idea, the users of the rhino horn will definitely become stiff....6 feet under

      Bill Xhosa - 2011-09-11 21:29

      Poisoning the horns IS a brilliant idea. It is one of those truly simple solutions that make you wonder why it wasn't thought of before. The demand for Rhino horns would definitely drop off after some Chinese died and it was advertised.

  • Ula Gillion - 2011-09-11 16:21

    Why the sudden hush? Has Cele got something to gain from Rhino poaching? Silence only breeds suspicion.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-09-11 23:27

      I agree and i really don't understand... Cele is the one who says the media should be celebrating the police and their achievements but now, after taking down some poachers he is giving the media the runaround, which breeds suspicion... ??? All points to the fact that he does not know what he is doing. All they do is keep mum and think that is going to sort out ALL their problems

  • Peg-Leg-Sven - 2011-09-11 16:31

    With all the allegations surrounding Cele, why is he still in the position that Zoom-Zoom appointed him to. Maybe therein lies the answer, whatever the disgraced Chief of police is involved in, he, Zoom-Zoom and his family benefit from. When are South Africans going to stand up and say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" and kick these thieving, lying scum into a very deep mine shaft?

      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 16:58

      Scum is a decent word.... to me they are BASTARDS!!!

  • Antoine - 2011-09-11 16:37

    This makes no sense of course -why the secrecy? Methinks that it's not the poaching of rhinos that makes it all so secret, they have started to poach the poachers now. If that's so, it may be illegal -but it would be fine with me.

      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 17:01

      Maybe Cele(bi) and his close knit police Cadre's are using the POACHERS as TARGET PRACTICE???????

      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 17:01

      Must admit... it would be pretty COOL if they are!!

  • Yislaaik - 2011-09-11 16:56

    I am still wondering what vetbooi has been muzzled about. They are all SO damned pathetic. The most beautiful continent on earth inhabited by the worst of savages.

  • kilo39 - 2011-09-11 17:00

    I suspect that there are people high up in government who are involved in the poaching scene. Once off offer : The 'whistleblower' who gives solid information that leads to the successful prosecution of a senior policeman, defense force officer, parks board member or government employee, wins a midweek getaway for one in Babanango which will include a night camp out trip to Nkandla, to see the Big Chief's Palace lit up like a Xmas tree (free power courtesy of Chinese donated generators running on Libyan sponsored fuel, manned by a North Korean security detail .)

      kilo39 - 2011-09-11 17:04

      Please add value if you can improve this incentive ! My 'Rhino Poachers - Wanted Dead or Alive' poster will be available in your local ANC....sorry about that, ....CNA on Monday!

      Craigr - 2011-09-11 21:59

      If I were a gambling man, I would say that you were spot on the money here.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-11 17:03

    Cele -- another corrupt clown,worried about his share

  • Lyndatjie - 2011-09-11 17:16

    We only muzzle the very thing we don't want people to know about... so just what is Cele hiding????

  • Atoombom - 2011-09-11 17:33

    Hierdie kaalkop bliksem is 10 to 1 deel van die poachers organization of SA

  • Shisstirrer QBE - 2011-09-11 17:36

    Bugger the white rhino , what about the white wino ?

  • Nirvan - 2011-09-11 17:40

    I see the Chinese diplomats are exercising their muscle...

  • Cheryl Muir - 2011-09-11 17:49


      Netherlander - 2011-09-11 18:13

      You go Cheryl..... "VAT HOM FLUFFY"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • leonard - 2011-09-11 18:27

    Wow,is there no government of controversy?Even the wild animals are suffering.Bring on the next general election to rid us of these vile mindless idiots.

  • Louis - 2011-09-11 19:23

    you muzzle a it in the public interest and is it their right to know that police are "muzzled"?? there is no hound like a news hound

  • Freddie One - 2011-09-11 19:31

    The next logical step is to retrench all provincial and regional police communication officers, and save the taxpayer the expense of their salary. If they aren't aloud to communicate, we don't need them!

  • Craigr - 2011-09-11 21:46

    I smell a rat...

  • Craigr - 2011-09-11 21:46

    I smell a rat...

  • avoomu - 2011-09-12 05:57

    "one of the soldiers was short in the leg". Maybe the line should have been "Field Marshall Cele was short in the I.Q dept."

  • Dianne - 2011-09-12 08:34

    How extraordinary.

  • sniperman - 2011-09-13 11:48

    I believe our friend Malema has a skin as thick as a rhino. If it was not that his "horing" is so small I am sure he would have been poached long ago.

  • Daan - 2011-09-13 13:06

    You ouks must not talk ukly like that. The RPU (Rhino Poachers Union) will take you to the HRC (Human Rights Commission)and then you will have to apologize!!

  • Hilberry - 2011-10-02 15:49

    As soon as they try and keep a lid on events, they sow suspicion on themselves being involved. Why are so few people caught who have killed rhino ??? Do you smell a rat ?

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