DA lauds R17 million rhino horn bust

Thomas Walters MPL

Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development

The DA in Gauteng lauds the sterling work by law enforcement officers that led to the discovery of rhino horns worth R17.3 million during a sting operation in Centurion, outside Pretoria.

The Star this morning reports that cops found a car with a hidden compartment used for horns, microchip scanners, a bandsaw and hi-tech scales. Two horns were discovered in the car and six rhino horns wrapped in clingfilm were unearthed in the garden.

The DA is delighted at what seems to be some successes in the fight against rhino poaching in Gauteng, but remains worried about very low conviction rates for this scourge.

In a written response to my question in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza revealed that 65 arrests have been made in connection with rhino poaching in the province since 2010. There were also 29 incidents of rhino poaching in Gauteng for the same period.

The arrest rate seems to hold the promise of rhino poaching being a fairly precarious crime to indulge in.
However, the same period showed only one conviction thus far, which seems to suggest that successfully prosecuting the guilty parties is not met with the same success rate.

This means a 1.5% conviction rate for rhino poaching.

The table below provides a breakdown of incidents, arrests and convictions.

 

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

Incidents

15

1

9

4

Arrests

10

16

26

13

Convictions

0

0

1

0

The DA calls on the police to investigate the reasons for the low conviction rate and to adjust their strategies, which appear to be working, accordingly.

Rhinos cannot disappear from our province!