Rhino farm 'a slaughterhouse'

2010-09-26 09:25

Johannesburg – Farm workers in the Musina area call the farm Prachtig the "animal slaughterhouse". This farm is a central part of the State's controversial case against an alleged rhino poaching syndicate.

Several people – among them two veterinarians - appeared on Tuesday in a court in Musina.

Investigating officers visited Prachtig over the past few days, apparently to search for rhino "graves".

Part of the accused's bail conditions was that they were not allowed to tamper with the 32 rhino on the farm or interfere with the investigation.

Some of the rhino come from the Kruger National Park and police were apparently looking for carcasses of animals who were allegedly killed for their horns.

An expert told Rapport that the horrible truth was that a dead rhino was more valuable than a live one.

Rhino horn costs between $20 000 (R140 000) per kilo and a rhino bull's horn weighs about 5kg.

A live rhino was valued at between R130 000 and R300 000 in South Africa.


Most of the rhino mentioned in the case were apparently poached on the farm.

An informed source said Dawie Groenewald, owner of Prachtig, where his safari company Out of Africa held hunting expeditions, boasted at one stage that he had 80 rhino on his farm.

Some of these rhino had their horns cut off.

When reporters visited the farm on Friday, the huge Out of Africa sign had been removed. Farm workers didn't know where the "Out of Africa" farm was, but were quick to give directions to the place they called the "animal butchery".

A Sanparks spokesperson confirmed that Groenewald had bought between 20 and 30 rhino from the Kruger park.

Dr Karel Toet, a vet who was also arrested, acted as a go-between and also bought rhino for Groenewald at the game reserve.

The spokesperson said they stopped selling game to Groenewald when they were informed he was earlier this year found guilty in an American court of exporting an illegally hunted leopard.

Groenewald is a notorious roleplayer in the hunting industry. He was a police official years ago in the vehicle theft unit in Polokwane but was arrested for car theft. His brother was found guilty but he was acquitted.

Julian Rademeyer reported that Groenewald had been suspended from the professional hunting association four years ago and was banned from hunting in Zimbabwe.