Two suspects who were caught in possession of lion’s head have appeared in court to face charges for violating environmental conservation regulations on Monday.
The pair, Joseph Modime, 59, and Emily Mashaba, 54, appeared in the Zeerust Magistrates’ Court in the North West Province to face charges of contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) after they were caught recently in possession of a lion’s head.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, said the pair had appeared in court following their arrest last week.
“Their court appearance emanates from their arrest following an intelligence tip-off that resulted in a sting operation by the Mahikeng based Serious Organised Crime Investigation team from the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lehurutshe K9, Zeerust Stock Theft Unit and members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment,” Mamothame said.
“The Hawks reported that the two suspects were travelling from Tembisa in Johannesburg, seeking a traditional healer to sell the lion’s head for an amount of R350 000. The report further indicated that this sale was intercepted by a police agent who arranged a traditional healer, leading to the arrest of the two at a petrol station in Zeerust,” he said.
“ A lion’s head was found in their possession, wrapped in refuse bags,” Mamothame added.
Lion’s head investigation ongoing
He said the Hawks were still busy with further investigation regarding the case.
Mamothame said that the matter was postponed to allow the police time to verify the suspects’ addresses. They are two suspects are expected to appear in court again on 20 December 2021.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter the police are offering a R100 000 reward to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects who killed four rhinos and critically injuring a fifth at the Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape last Wednesday night.