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RSA Operator Arrested. Charter Woes In Cameroon, More
(posted October - 2010)
 

 Once again, Dawie Groenewald of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris has been arrested. This time allegedly in connection with the poaching rings that have been devastating the rhino populations in South Africa. The day before going to print with this issue, I received word that nine people had been arrested in connection with the poaching rings. South African Police Service Spokesman Vish Naidoo confirmed that two veterinarians, a spouse of one of the vets, and a game farmer and his wife were all arrested in early morning raids at Modimolle, Polowane and Musina. The names that were released were: Dr. Karel Toet and his wife Marisa, Dr. Manie du Plessis, professional hunter Tielman Erasmus, and Dawie and Sariette Groenewald. Groenewald, you may recall, was arrested and jailed in the United States earlier this year and subsequently tried and found guilty of illegally importing a leopard that had been illegally hunted in South Africa. I reported on that incident just this past June.

 The recent raids and arrests in South Africa were a joint effort between SA National Parks, the National Prosecuting Authority, aviation authorities and Hawks. Hawks is the Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) unit that targets organized crime, economic crime, corruption and other serious crime referred to it by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS). Apparently, aviation authorities were involved due to the heavy use of helicopters by poachers who use them to quickly land near a located rhino, which they shoot with a standard firearm or a dart gun, cut off their horns and then leave to die. Numerous game ranches had reported to authorities seeing or hearing helicopters flying over their properties. According to authorities, Sariette Groenewald is owner of a Robinson R44 helicopter.

 As this was written on September 21, Groenewald and the others were scheduled to appear in court in Musina, and more arrests were expected. In a press release issued the same day by The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), CEO Adri Kisthoff said the organization was supporting motions to oppose bail to all of those arrested in the sweep. “The mere R2,000 bail that was recently awarded in another case is a ‘crime’ by itself,” said Kisthoff. PHASA had recently provided almost R400,000 to be used for anti-poaching and management projects. “The money was raised by our members, who as professional hunters and hunting outfitters will do everything in their power to put a stop to this senseless murder of our wildlife,” said Kisthoff.....


  


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