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Lucky break in rhino poaching case

September 23, 2010

One of two dead rhinos lies on the ground after approximately 9 gun men armed with automatic rifles poached the two white rhino yesterday and cut off their horns on the Potgieter game farm close to Vaalwater, Limpopo Province. 240810 - Picture: Jennifer Bruce

From IOL News

On a farm close to Musina, forensic investigators are examining and looking for the carcasses of white rhinos.

Authorities are trying to find how many dead white rhinos are on the 4 000-hectare farm named Pragtig, owned by Dawie Groenewald.

They say each carcass is important in strengthening the case against the 11 accused who appeared in court yes-terday.

The rhinos were apparently bought and taken to the farm.

The case is the culmination of many hours of hard work.

It follows forensic investigators’ lucky break when one of the suspects pitched up in court to give his support to the 10 accused.

Marthinus Pronk was in the public galley of the Musina Magistrate’s Court yesterday, with relatives of the accused, when detectives spotted him and arrested him.

When proceedings began two hours later, Pronk had joined his alleged co-conspirators in the docket as accused number 11.

The other accused are Groenewald and his wife Sariette; Karel Toet, his wife Mariza and their business partner Manie du Plessis; Dewald Gouws; Nardus Rossouw; professional hunter Tielman Erasmus; Leon van der Merwe; and farmworker Paul Matomela.

(Starting from the closest to camera) Karel Toet , Mariza Toet , Mannie Du Plessis , Nordus Rossouw , Tielman Erasmas , Leon Van Der Merwe , Dewald Gouws and Matinus Pronk all are appearing at the Musina Magistrate Court on charges of rhino poaching. Photo: Neil Baynes

Colonel Vishnu Naidoo, spokesman for the Hawks, said a multidepartmental team was working hard to arrest the remaining members of the alleged syndicate.

Yesterday, magistrate Errol Luiters granted the accused bail.

The supposed mastermind of the syndicate, Dawie Groenewald, was given R1 million bail, while his wife’s bail was put at R100 000.

Next in line was Modimolle vet Karel Toet, with bail of R50 000.

Seven others were given bail of R20 000. Matomela’s bail was set at R5 000.

Most of the accused appeared relaxed, smiling at family members in the gallery.

Their next appearance in court is scheduled for April 11.

In the meantime, the accused have to hand in their identity documents and passports. They are also not allowed to interfere with or trade in the 32 rhinos that are on Groenewald’s farm.

The alleged syndicate members also have to notify the investigating officer a week before if they want to leave Limpopo.

They were also warned not to interfere with the police investigation on the Groenewalds’ farm.

The accused are facing hundreds of charges, including assault, fraud, corruption, malicious damage to property, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.

Meanwhile, in Modimolle, Eblockwatch’s Selomie Maritz welcomed the news of the arrests.

Maritz, who works on Eblockwatch’s anti-rhino-poaching initiative, had spent Rhino Day helping to relocate Nona, a black rhino that was shot seven times by poachers on Friday.

Two months earlier, she had been shot twice. Nona has been moved to a safe, undisclosed farm.

The white rhino is preferred by poachers because it has a bigger horn than a black rhino. Also, a black rhino costs about R1m, whereas a white rhino costs about a third of that.

Rhino Poaching Ring Broken Up
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Additional information:
Dawie Groenewald’s hunting enterprise, Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris, can be found HERE and you can contact the “business” HERE.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 11:27 am

    Heng dem!!!


  2. Ann(USA) permalink
    September 23, 2010 3:06 pm

    I am absolutely shocked that women would be in on this sick, disturbing abuse and toruture of animals trying to live free as they were born to be. I see money speaks and regard for living beings are not respected and appreciated. May they never see the light of day again. May their sentence be the max as if a human being was killed. May they wear an ankle bracelet to track their every move if they should ever get out of the hell they have no idea what they will be facing behind bars. May they experience shame,torture from fellow animal lovers behind bars to remind them what they did and what those poor animals they killed while alive had gone through. May they face hell where ever they will be. I pray for all those Rhinos they killed, might be mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. Thanks to them, there might be baby Rhinos with no family now.


  3. Ann(USA) permalink
    September 23, 2010 3:07 pm

    These are dangerous low lifes that are not to be trusted ever.


  4. September 24, 2010 7:53 am

    born in the gutter,torn from a pile, of manure these low life
    all dressed in style,inside their miserable bodies, alas
    clearly no heart just a stinking morass.


  5. September 22, 2014 10:47 am

    great points altogether, you simply won a logo new reader. What
    would you recommend about your publish that you made a
    few days ago? Any certain?



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