Fifty suspected poachers have been arrested in a series of joint operations across the country over the past two months.
National police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the arrests were part of various efforts by authorities to fight wildlife crimes.
“A multi-disciplinary rhino poaching task team arrested 50 suspects between the ages of 24 and 58 years and recovered 13 rhino horns, two elephant tusks and 19 hunting rifles during ongoing police operations in various parts of the country over the past two months,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The task team had also recovered 15 silencers, two pistols, one shotgun and 155 rounds of ammunition, Naidoo said.
The firearms were sent to the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory in Pretoria for ballistic testing, primarily to determine if they had been used to commit other crimes, he said.
The charges against the men include possession of unlicensed firearms, conspiracy to commit crime, possession of counterfeit goods, illegal hunting, possession of rhino horns, possession of protected endangered species and possession of elephant tusks.
Naidoo also mentioned the arrests of Jabulani Ndlovu, 38, and Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, 37, of Port Elizabeth, and Forget Ndlovu, 40, from George, for the alleged possession of a rhino horn worth an estimated R1.2-million.
The men – who are unrelated – are believed to be connected to more than 60 cases of rhino poaching countrywide. They are due to appear in court again next week.