SANParks employees in court for poaching

Two South African National Parks employees arrested in connection with rhino poaching appeared in the White River Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The matter was postponed to April 16 for further investigation, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Tshepo Mashale, 27, a water controller in the Kruger National Park, and Excellence Shabangu, 26, a tour guide, would remain in police custody.

The men were arrested on Monday while off-duty. They were not asked to plead during their brief appearance on Wednesday.

SANParks' acting chief executive Abe Sibiya said the fight against rhino poaching included focusing on criminal elements within the organisation itself.

"We will not leave any stone unturned and this should send out a stern warning to those who are conspiring with poachers that we will deal with them decisively and swiftly.

"We are constantly on the alert and that is what led to the arrests of these two individuals," he said.

He said the two men should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Advanced technology was used to arrest the two men. It was placed inside the park and was paid for through funds donated by the public, various corporations and foundations, he said.

"A lot of work is under way to stabilise the situation and we are confident that the collective interventions by all law-enforcement local and international agencies will eventually curb or reduce, if not stop, rhino poaching altogether."