TWO suspects aged 48 and 53 appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrates Court on Friday, 23 July.

Mpumalanga Hawks spokeswoman Captain Dineo Sekgotodi said the arrest came after a multi-disciplinary operation was conducted on Wednesday, 21 July by the Hawks’ Organised Crime Investigation, Wildlife Trafficking Counter-Intelligence and private sector to curb wildlife trafficking in Nelspruit.

“Two suspects Dawie Groenewald (48) and Schalk Abraham Steyn (53) were arrested while transporting 19 rhino horns in two bakkies. They were charged for dealing and illegal possession of rhino horns. Their vehicles were impounded for further investigation.

“The rhino horns with an estimated value of R2,6 million were seized and an investigation to ascertain if the suspects are linked to crimes contravening the Endangered Species Act is continuing.

“Both accused were released on bail of R50 000 each. They must also report at their respective police station once a week and cannot leave their respective provinces without notifying the investigating officer,” said Sekgotodi.

The matter has been postponed until 17 September for further investigation.