SKUKUZA – According to police spokesman Brig Leonard Hlathi, four men were found in possession of a .303 hunting rifle, ammunition and an axe in the Kruger National Park on Monday.
He said the men then told the rangers that they were waiting for someone to collect them. “After a while, their transport arrived with two occupants. They were also cornered. During a probe, it was discovered that the driver of the vehicle is a police official stationed at the Lebombo Port of Entry, near Komatipoort.”
This happened just after the provincial commissioner of the police, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, vowed that no corrupt element would be kept within the SAPS.
The police officer, with his crew, was arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime, while the others were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as trespassing.
The suspects appeared in the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
In a separate incident, two alleged poachers, David Kubhayi (27) and Samson Zwane (22), have appeared in the Skukuza Periodical Court on Monday, after they were found in possession of a heavy calibre hunting rifle and other poaching equipment.
“The arrest occurred after park rangers were doing their daily routine when they spotted the duo and approached them.”
Hlathi reported that a shoot-out ensued between the rangers and suspects which led to the latter being wounded in the process.
“Two rhino horns, a .375 hunting rifle with a filed off serial number, ammunition and a knife were seized. Both suspects were rushed to hospital and placed under police guard.”
They appeared in court in absentia and the case was postponed to May 29 for further investigation.
He concluded that Zuma commended the integrated law enforcers for effecting the arrests without any fear, favour or prejudice and seizing the horns as well as the firearms.
Zuma also mentioned that the departmental investigation against the arrested member was under way.