(South Africa)

Zim nationals nabbed in Joburg while allegedly selling elephant tusk for R400k

7 August 2020

Pretoria – Three Zimbabwean nationals were on Thursday remanded in custody after they were arrested by the the Hawks in Johannesburg while allegedly selling an elephant tusk.

The Hawks said Radius Mncube (29), Mkhululi Ngwenya (52) and Mgcini Mncube (35) were caught in Bramley in a sting operation when “they were apparently looking for a customer to buy their ill-gotten possession which they had reportedly set a R400 000 (US$22 820) price tag to”.

“In an effort to safeguard South African endangered species and natural resources, the Hawks’ wildlife trafficking team complemented by the [police] national intervention unit from Pretoria arrested three suspects on Tuesday for possession of an elephant tusk,” said police spokesperson spokeswoman Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

She said the three appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act and were remanded in custody.

“Their case has been postponed to 14 August … for confirmation of their compliance with the Immigration Act and for appointment of their legal representatives.”

Last month, a father and son facing charges over the possession of two rhino horns and shark fins lost their bid for bail and will stand trial in October.

Hawks provincial spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said Alberto Ernesto Nharreluga, aged 47, and 27-year-old Alberto Ernesto Nharreluga (Junior), who were arrested in April 2019, would return to court on October 28 at the Middelburg Regional Court.

She said the rhino horns and shark fins were found by members of the police flying squad on the N4 highway next to Belfast, hidden inside the two men’s vehicle while they were travelling from Mozambique to Gauteng.

During the arrest, the pair tried to entice police officers with kickbacks, without success, and will face an additional corruption charge.