Two men, who were arrested by the Hawks in Hartbeespoort in 2019, for the illegal possession of 181 rhino horns, pleaded guilty in the Brits Magistrates’ Court on 5 June 2020.
Petrus Stephanus Steyn (61) and Clive John Melville (57) were fined R25 000 and R50 000 respectively after pleading guilty to charges of illegal possession of white rhino horns, and engaging in restricted wildlife activities without permits.
The men were arrested in Skeerpoort in April 2019 during an operation by members of the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Endangered Species Unit, Special Task Force, Tracker SA and Vision Tactical, after receiving information that a vehicle from a coastal province was carrying a considerable amount of rhino horns. The rhino horns were allegedly destined for the South East Asian markets, the Hawks said.
At the time, South Africa’s largest breeder of rhino, John Hume, confirmed that he legally sold 181 horns, that were legally and humanely removed from rhinos, to a Port Elizabeth buyer. However, Steyn and Melville did not have permits to transport the horns over provincial borders. Steyn was released on R20 000 bail while Melville was released on R100 000 bail.
Hume now reportedly wants his horns back and plans on lodging an application in the High Court to recover the horns.