Farmers bust in rhino poaching trap

2012-03-12 10:44

Durban - Bail is to be opposed this week for five men, including two cattle and game farmers from northern KwaZulu-Natal, arrested for rhino poaching, conspiracy to poach rhino and other charges.

They were arrested on March 4 when officers of the Durban organised crime unit and the national intervention unit sprung a trap set for them in connection with a planned operation to poach up to 10 rhino in the “Big Five” Mkhuze Falls private game reserve in the Pongola area.

The accused are farmers Ewart Potgieter, 34, of Louwsburg and Riaan Vermaak, 32, of Newcastle, Filemon Mbatha, 42 - believed to be a farm worker - and Nkosinathi Sithole, 34, and Mduduzi Sithole, 29, who were game rangers at Mkhuze Falls.

Undercover agents

The Witness was told the farmers had set out with undercover police agents in the early hours of the morning on the planned rhino hunt, and were arrested shortly after the boundary fence was cut to gain entry to the reserve. The other arrests followed soon afterwards.

Police later seized five hunting rifles and a pistol that were allegedly illegally in the possession of the accused, as well as 2 000 rounds of live ammunition.

During a search of Potgieter’s property police allegedly found the skin of a four-metre African rock python, a stash of 22 300 counterfeit US dollars, 19 dagga plants, six cycads, which are protected plants, and an agricultural poison, Temic, whose possession is controlled.

The accused appeared in court at Magudu, about 30km from Pongola, and their case was postponed until March 15 for a bail application.

The five were remanded in custody.

The Durban organised crime unit was also responsible for arresting a man in possession of a piece of a rhino horn at Jozini in northern KZN last Thursday.

The man was confronted and detained after police received information that he was looking for a buyer for the rhino horn in the village.

  • Lebogang - 2012-03-12 10:49

    Got to love Ou Potgieter.

      Ben - 2012-03-12 11:23

      Let me say it then. I am ashamed.

      Andrew - 2012-03-12 11:38

      remove his horn!!!....and his balls.

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-03-12 11:38

      S.A criminals they represent the rainbow colours- i knew this all along

      Alan - 2012-03-12 11:44

      @Lebo ...I dont gotta love 'Ou Potgieter' !!! I would like to see him dehorned.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 11:48

      Actually - I was talking with friends on Sat night who are frieds with a KNP ranger. The ranger's opionion is that the rangers are usually involved in the poaching.(when the rangers are in spot A, poaching always takes place in Spot B). His opinion (according to my friends) is that the Parks Board should listen to the ranger's grievances and pay them more to stop the poaching. I disagree... human greed knows no bounds, and most people are corruptable. How many vets for example have been implicated. The human race is n a sorry state!

      Nicholas - 2012-03-12 12:01

      That sounds like a big relief for you Cosmos ..

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-03-12 12:20

      Not really just highlighting what OTHER people dont wanna admit

      Alan - 2012-03-12 12:31

      @Cosmos ..nah -we are just concerned about the rhinos. (Both the black and the white rhinos)

      Bomb - 2012-03-12 12:33

      Hahahaha, crime and greed knows no color.

      clivecorbz - 2012-03-12 12:51

      Ben, why are you ashamed?

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-03-12 13:01

      Clive we can figure out what Ben is ashamed of- He needs a lot of help

      Lungani - 2012-03-12 14:07

      @Lebogang...I always knew this white color crime will always be organised by the WHITE SAINTS within our country. These rich people use money to lure these poor people to perfomr such henious crime. No wonder after all this economic downturn they can still afford all the luxuries in this world.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 14:15

      @lungani ... Lol - but it's the Yellow people behind it all.

      Tanie - 2012-03-12 14:19


      Dannys - 2012-03-12 14:21

      @ Lungani - white collar crime generally refers to crimes that are fraudulent or financial in nature and not to the perpetrators. Nice try at trying to stir the race cauldron. Muppet!

      joeballito - 2012-03-12 22:54

      Cant understand this: as I am writing this the time is 10.55 the 12th of March.Most of the posts here register a time later than that?Ben S time now says 11.23 and the rest is all wrong......Well done again!Anyway the bastards must swing.....

  • Herbert - 2012-03-12 10:54

    Onthoring die hele spul !!!

  • kgomotso.radise - 2012-03-12 10:54

    The is no stoping of rhino pouching damn!

      Alan - 2012-03-12 13:55

      yeah - kangaroo pouching too!

  • Michael - 2012-03-12 10:58

    This and the case of Limpopo lot, that includes vets, points to the crime bosses of this gutless animal killers.

  • Hugh - 2012-03-12 11:01

    I have no sympathy for such criminals. Long term sentences are the key to stopping poaching and stock theft.

  • Nigel - 2012-03-12 11:01

    shoot them & cut their penises off

      Ingi - 2012-03-12 16:28

      No, cut their penises off first, then their balls, then shot out their knee caps and then let them just bleed to death, exactly the same way they leave rhino's to die. The BLOODY BASTARDS, do they have NO shame.............?????????????? Game farmers nog al!!!

  • MSGRule - 2012-03-12 11:02

    Castrate the bastards - skaap rekkie om die sakkie.

  • roberta.keeling - 2012-03-12 11:03

    It absolutely amazes me that people such as farmers are again involved in annihilating our wildlife. The greed of these people is unbelievable. Their farms (if they own any) should be confiscated and given to responsible people who can make a success of farming, and do not need to poach rhino to live a life of luxury.Potgieter and Vermaak are an insult to their race and the farming community. Agree with MArion - lock them up and throw the keys away.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-03-12 11:27

      Anybody that poaches defenceless animals is an insult to their race. Black, white, yellow, etc. It's all greed . Indigenous people the world over lived side by side with animals for millennia, without threatening them with extinction. As soon as some idiots started putting monetary value on the animals then the whole poaching shebang started. This poaching business is now seemingly a runaway rolling boulder on a slippery downward slope, and gaining momentum fast. It will continue to do so until such time that these people cast aside all their greed, and the law-enforcement services in SA start doing their job.

      jeremy002 - 2012-03-12 11:42

      Naaah. I still say shoot on sight. Inprisonment does not work. Root them out.

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-03-12 12:32

      KaMavovo you hit the nail on the head Bravo, Europeans, Arab rulers/ Sheiks, Americans & Chinese are one coming here to cause carnage. They come here with a price on our Rhinos, Kudus, Lions just to shoot and kill them for sport. Horrible Horrible people

  • Liam - 2012-03-12 11:03

    now to see what the legal system makes of this. we can only hope the sentence is harsh.

      Andrew - 2012-03-12 16:04

      While I do not wish to condone any activity to poach Rhino or any other wild animal, my question is were any Rhino slaughtered? If not, how are these people going to be prosecuted, knowing how our police and judiciary manage to foul things up.

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-03-12 11:06

    Put an add in the Asian news papers " 5 horns freshly harvest." After receiving the money send them on ice to the consumers/traders. Maybe they will dry and eat those "horns" as well.

      Herbert - 2012-03-12 14:41

      Sell it as Mopani worms!!!

  • Cindy - 2012-03-12 11:06

    One poacher one bullet! One of our local game farms (Kariega) is battling to save the lives of 2 rhino badly injured by scum such as these, shoot the POACHERS on sight, that'll go a long way to solving the problem.... to hell with the rule of law!

      jeremy002 - 2012-03-12 11:43

      Got to agree. Shoot on sight. Nothing else will work.

  • Nickey - 2012-03-12 11:13

    GIVE THEM TO THE PUBLIC !! I Personaly want to CUT OFF THEIR BALLS !!!!

  • my10cent - 2012-03-12 11:13

    I am concerned about the fact that the people behind/in charge of these poachings are all Afrikaners - is this how low they have stooped?

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-03-12 11:28

      Everybody has their price apparently. Human greed knows no bound.

      Louw - 2012-03-12 11:58

      Can you explain all "Afrikaners"!!!!!!!!!!!

      Stephanie - 2012-03-12 13:13

      Mate not to kill your buzz, but i know a lot of people with Afrikaans surnames who are actually English speaking. A surname does not mean they are Afrikaans, so please don't assume anything and make judgements. I also know a lot of English Farmers so the fact that they are Farmers has no indication to there language or upbringing. Scum speaks all languages including Afrikaans.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-03-12 14:16

      @Stephanie Have you ever met an English-speaking Ewart or Riaan?

      Kim - 2012-03-12 15:34

      @ Stephanie...these guys are as Afrikaans as can come. Language and race groups are not the issue here. The issue is that all our poor Rhinos are being killed for their horns! All that for money!! It is sick!!!

      Cheryl - 2012-03-12 16:08

      my 10cent - I have noted that with interest myself. Every single one. Perhaps because many of them are raised in families where they hunt - FOR SPORT!

      Jan - 2012-03-13 10:56

      @Gcwabe-KaMavovo Personally I have not met an English Ewart or Riaan but I have known a Jan and an Adriaan that could not speak a word of Afrikaans. Also met English speakers with the surnames "van Rooyen and van Huyssteen" that could not understand or speak any Afrikaans

  • Cindy - 2012-03-12 11:20

    Follow the link to see the real effects of Rhino poaching:

  • adrian.bean - 2012-03-12 11:20

    I am happy to read more and more people is caught instead of another rhino shot. Well done to the people involved in catching them. Hopefully we can rid the earth of these ruthless scum that kill for money!

      Marion - 2012-03-12 11:30

      @Adrian.bean - valid point. Are definitely hearing more about poachers being caught than rhino killed at present. For that I commend the authorities responsible for apprehending these b******s. Now the justice system must just not fail the wildlife of SA.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 11:51

      Yeah - but I heard on Sat that more than 80 rhino's have already been poached in 2012. We are not winning the battle, even though a few of the bottom feeders are being caught.

      Anastasia - 2012-03-12 12:36

      We are only on to the 2nd tier of this organisation. We will have no rhino's left, by the time we make our way up to the top dogs. So long as human greed persists, there will always be willing bodies to take the places of those arrested.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 13:08

      @MissG .. sad but true. The bottom feeders are easy to attract. My opinion is that the Govt. has to throw the book @ poachers, Full Stop. Willy Nilly fines mean nothing. Greed is unstoppable, by heavy penalties are some form of deterrent.

  • mikekupferberg - 2012-03-12 11:20

    well done SAPS!!!

  • Erna - 2012-03-12 11:21

    Die "bl.....sems" dit hou net aan en aan. Die feit dat ander stropers gevang word skrik nie voornemende stropers af nie. NO BAIL FOR POACHERS

      Leon - 2012-03-12 13:48

      Just take them to the nearest tree and some ski rope...

  • Mike - 2012-03-12 11:28

    Put them in a Cell with BABBA. They will get some more Horn

  • Samantha - 2012-03-12 11:29

    why did you bring them back, should have just shot them......accidently! -

      Amanda - 2012-03-12 11:36

      Throw them into the lions enclosure and make sure they are only found once the vultures start circling!

  • Vuks01 - 2012-03-12 11:36

    Criminal Commercial Farmers - now thats is a new one for me - I thought these guys were supposed to the pillars of our society !!! Ja neh - crime has no boundaries these days anyone is a potential criminal - In fact another definition of a criminal is "the guy who got caught" like these chaps.

  • Martin - 2012-03-12 11:49

    hang them

  • Mari Theologo - 2012-03-12 12:05

    Its awesome that these criminals are caught!! Good work!! As for my10cent u know where u can fly to! Afrikaners whatever 10cent!

  • Gavin - 2012-03-12 12:24

    Soon all we'll have left is pictures of these great animals.

  • Bomb - 2012-03-12 12:31

    These as*wipes should be tied naked to a pole, and sjambokked by the public until they lose consciousness, then water thrown over them to wake them up, and sjambokked for a second time. After that they should do 1000 hours of community service, cleaning zoo enclosures somewhere. Fc*kn scum of the earth.

  • Sipho - 2012-03-12 12:37

    It's obviously not only black people doing all the crime ...

      Alan - 2012-03-12 12:38

      Eish - some things are just sooo deeply entrenched in some people....

      Louiseand Roger Higham - 2012-03-12 12:49

      Dah who told u only blacks commit crimes, if the cap fits wear it.

  • Andrew - 2012-03-12 12:40

    Why is it that always it is the Afrikaners and blacks that are involved in this hidieous crime. Nothing changes. Just look at the vets and their surnames to determine my comments!!!

      RealNikka - 2012-03-12 13:58

      So after we fought each other during apartheid, we are uniting against the Rhinos smh

  • Dee - 2012-03-12 12:40

    As shameful as this is to S.Africans - the real problem is Asian demand ..and a great deal more should be done there. 1) Massive Asian media campaign that all rhino horn has been poisoned 2) Make a pseudo 'Snuff' YouTube video with Asian language sub-titles showing a convulsing, frothing at the mouth and dying in agony rhino horn user 3)'Drug' trafficking death penalty in Asia be applied to rhino horn 4)Protected species Animal Rights - Murder is murder and same penalties for protected animal murder as for humans. 5) And YES - ship 1 lethally toxic consignment of horn - because killing a few end user humans is justified to reduce demand.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 13:09

      I like your thinking.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-03-12 15:48

      I can be your convulsing Asian if you are looking for actors. I am very convincing!

      Jacqui - 2012-03-17 01:29

      Good one, Dee!

  • elizabethann.auld - 2012-03-12 12:42

    It is overdue - one criminal one noose!

  • Arlene - 2012-03-12 12:46

    Lovely... seems that these trash have a little problem explaining all the illegal stuff in their possession... SKUM of the earth they are!!!

  • Dave - 2012-03-12 12:50

    Lock them up for life.

  • Louiseand Roger Higham - 2012-03-12 12:54

    Greedy sods, let them wallow in jail until they old men. Maybe an artificial rhino horn pushed into some orifaces might remind them of what they've done incase their memories fail them.

      Alan - 2012-03-12 13:17

      Er .. as somebody above said .. In jail, Big Bubba will keep their minds on the Horn of Africa.

  • Carry - 2012-03-12 12:55


  • Carol - 2012-03-12 13:05

    Name and shame those fu@#ken bastards!!!

  • TaniaSandraSteyn - 2012-03-12 13:08

    Sies! Ek skaam my morsdood vir hierdie gemors. I hope they are vilified by their entire community.

  • Hendrik Bezuidenhout - 2012-03-12 13:13

    Why must it always be a race thing, is was criminals, not black, not white, it was criminals

      hadedah - 2012-03-12 15:37

      I agree with you Hendrik, they are criminals of the highest order and must be treated as such irrespective of colour or race we are all South Africans and Must ensure that poaching stops as well as other lucrative crimes which occur daily in our country. The law of the land must change to accommodate new thought and processes. Any criminal must be hit hard jailed in prison in solitude to think of what got them there not in the system that exist at the moment.

  • Rowan Cranston - 2012-03-12 13:17

    Cut their "male horns" off !!! no mercy to poachers!

  • Christa - 2012-03-12 13:29

    Sny hulle horings af! Sleg wetters!!

  • Christopher - 2012-03-12 14:04

    Well done to the officers taking part in the operation. Very well done. Keep up the good work.

  • Dejavu RealMan - 2012-03-12 14:49

    Money is da root of evil.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-03-12 15:42


  • hadedah - 2012-03-12 15:25

    Well done to the police, there is a lot more out there, find them and no Bail what so ever, Minimum prison sentence 20 years no bail. for those who work in nature conservation be hard on them, they took an oath to protect wild life, all they did was use it to their own advantage. Have no mercy on Poachers.

  • Gmale - 2012-03-12 15:54


  • SALife - 2012-03-12 17:18

    I have invented a word for animal murderers: "Petafiles". They hsould ne named, shamed, jailed and placed on a register. FBI research suggests that a large percentage of these people start out as animal mourers and then progress to Serial Killers.

  • angie.sell2 - 2012-03-13 08:45

    Well done on busting them. Put them all on a chain ganag to fix our national parks fences without their hunting rifles and 2000 rounds of ammo. Make them work for the tax payer and not the tax payer for them!

  • MuttleyScholtz - 2012-03-13 09:17

    These people should be put in reserve with traps set everywhere. Bunch of animals! I know we must not hate but...

  • Mike - 2012-03-13 12:31

    These heartless bastards should NOT be given bail.

  • Marianne - 2012-03-14 12:20

    Once those arrested have appeared in court, they will be photographed and their photos shown everywher, e for all to see what kind of being poaches rhino for their horns.

  • antoinette.ries - 2012-03-14 22:29

    Just wondering.With what where they going to cut the horns. I'm not reading anything about hunting knives found in the alleged poachers possesion !!!! It's not always wise to believe everything you read.

  • antoinette.ries - 2012-03-14 22:35

    Something's not making sense. I do believe you need a hunting knife, right ? So I'm not reading anything about a knife. What the hell where they going to use. Don't know if I can believe everything I read. It's always better to get the real story before judging.

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