The department welcomes conviction and sentencing of two men for rhino horn smuggling

10 June 2020

 

The conviction of two men arrested in April 2019 for the illegal possession and transportation of 181 rhino horn has been welcomed by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

Clive John Melville and Petrus Stephanus Steyn entered into a plea agreement with the State and were sentenced in the Brits Magistrate’s Court on 5 June 2020.

The men were convicted of the illegal possession and transportation of rhino horn.  Melville was also convicted of forgery.

Steyn was handed a R25 000 fine or 18 month’s imprisonment, suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of a similar offence in that period.

Melville was handed a R50 000 fine or three year’s imprisonment. He was further sentenced to three years imprisonment suspended for five years, and six months in jail suspended for three years on condition that he does not reoffend in the period of suspension.

Although the domestic trade in rhino horn is legal when the necessary permits in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act have been obtained, the international commercial trade of rhinoceros horn is prohibited in terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The successful conviction is a confirmation that rhino management strategies being implemented to combat rhino poaching are yielding results.

** Members of the public wishing to report rhino poaching and environmental crimes can contact the Department’s hotline on 0800 205 005 or call 10111.

For media inquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871

 

Editor’s note:
 

The men were arrested near Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West province on 13 April 2019 during an operation including members of the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Endangered Species Unit, Special Task Force, Tracker SA and Vision Tactical, following the receipt of information that a vehicle from a coastal province was carrying a considerable amount of horns.  The rhino horns were allegedly destined for the South East Asian markets.