Three in court for dealing in rhino horn
A fruit and vegetable vendor, a Transnet employee and a driving school owner will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on charges of dealing in rhino horns.
Lawyers for Rajendran Moodley, Sithembiso Luthuli and Samgelo Sibiya said their clients intended to plead not guilty to the two charges that each man faced. The three were applying for bail.
State prosecutor Krishen Shah said the State had a “watertight case”.
The three men were nabbed in a sting operation on March 18, after Moodley approached an undercover policeman and allegedly tried to sell him a rhino horn.
Shah said the one-metre-long horn weighed 6.5kg and would earn about US60,000 per kilogram, or a total of about R3 million.
The men had allegedly attempted to sell the horn for R1.5 million.
Lawyer Sibusiso Mndaba said both his clients — Luthuli and Sibiya — could afford to pay bail of R10,000 each.
Moodley’s lawyer said his client could afford R20,000 bail, and that his fruit and vegetable business had suffered since his arrest.
The court was told Luthuli worked for Transnet. Sibiya, 47, suffered from diabetes and operated a driving school. All three claimed they were not a flight risk.
However, Shah argued the three were part of a syndicate and “had become a liability” to that syndicate. The State, he said, could not guarantee their safety if they were released.
Each man faces one charge of dealing in rhino horn and another of illegal possession of rhino horn.