15th July 2024

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15th July 2024

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Scales of justice: Limpopo court jails man for pangolin possession

Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
Scales of justice: Limpopo court jails man for pangolin possession

Tulani Ngwenya

LIMPOPO, South Africa – A Limpopo man is facing jail time after being convicted for illegally possessing a pangolin, a critically endangered species. On Wednesday, June 20, 2024, the Phalaborwa Regional Court sentenced George Marawidzi, 60, to five years in prison or a R10,000 fine. This conviction comes after a sting operation by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit.

Back in May 2023, the Hawks received a tip-off about a potential pangolin sale in Hoedspruit. Wasting no time, they joined forces with the Central Intelligence Committee (CIC) National Security, D-Dass security services, and Hoedspruit Farmawatch to set a trap. Warrant Officer Lethunya Mmuroa explained, “Based on the information, the team identified and followed a suspicious vehicle in Gravelotte. Upon stopping and searching the vehicle, a pangolin estimated at R10,000 was discovered hidden in a bag inside the boot.”

Marawidzi was unable to produce a permit for possessing the pangolin, leading to his arrest for possession of an endangered species. He was released on R5,000 bail while the Hawks conducted a thorough investigation. Their relentless pursuit of evidence ultimately secured his conviction and sentencing.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world, primarily targeted for the scales used in traditional medicine. This successful operation by the Hawks and collaborating forces highlights their ongoing commitment to combating wildlife trafficking and protecting South Africa’s endangered species. The case serves as a stark warning to those involved in the illegal wildlife trade – the Hawks are vigilant and determined to bring poachers to justice.

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