Hawks mum on stolen rhino horn stockpile

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The head of the Hawks Godfrey Lebeya, has told Parliament that they are unable to disclose where the 51 rhino horn stockpile stolen in the North West this year were sold.

The Hawks says the rhino horn are estimated to be worth R9 million on the black market.

Advocate Lebeya says due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigations revealing the destiny of the commodities will jeopardise the probe.

“Horns shall have been sold, we will not be dealing with that particular aspect as this matter is still alive. We are currently conducting the investigation.”

“It is that part of information [that] can’t even be shared in public. As we might be actual informing those that need to be visited and the likes. So, it is part of the processes we are currently looking at,” adds Lebeya.

Meanwhile, conservation group Save the Rhino says while there has been an overall national decrease in rhino poaching this year so far, it is concerning that KwaZulu-Natal saw an increase.

Nationally, there were 231 rhinos poached in the first six months of this year.

About 143 of these took place in KwaZulu-Natal, largely at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

Save the Rhino CEO, Dr Jo Shaw says much of the horn is still being trafficked to Vietnam where its popularity is growing as a status symbol for the wealthy.

“As SA has been addressing this increased threat of Rhino poaching for over a decade. Rhino horn has been revered as a product in the east for centuries, primarily for its ornamental value and also belief in its powers as part of traditional usage although it has not been proven to be effective. More recently, what caused the spike of poaching in SA is the shift demand from Vietnam,” explains Shaw.

Slight decline in rhino poaching