ZIMBABWEAN professional hunter Theodore Bronkhorst, charged with conniving with three South Africans to smuggle 29 sables across the Limpopo River, yesterday filed an application seeking to be removed from remand, saying the State had failed to prove its claims against him.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Bronkhorst appeared before Gwanda magistrate Joseph Mabeza and was remanded out of custody to November 2.
According to the State, on July 13, Bronkhorst imported 50 sables from Zambia.
He then bred them at Msuna Ranch, trading as Bushman Safaris in Hwange.
On September 9, Bronkhorst is alleged to have connived with South African nationals identified as Edwin Hewitt, John Herbert Pretorius and Hedrick Blignaut to smuggle the animals worth $435 000 into South Africa through an illegal exit point on the Limpopo River.
The 52-year-old Bronkhorst allegedly obtained an animal movement permit from the veterinary offices in Hwange after misrepresenting that the sables were being moved to West Nicholson.
On the strength of the permit, the three South Africans moved the animals to Beitbridge where they then hired Thembani Sibanda of Makhakavhule village in Beitbridge to assist them to skip the border via the Limpopo River.
They then went to an illegal crossing point near Nottingham Estate, but their convoy of three vehicles got stuck in the river bed.
The South Africans were arrested by security personnel on patrol and revealed during interrogation that they had been assisted by Bronkhorst and
Sibanda to smuggle the animals out of the country.
Sibanda was arrested two days later while Bronkhorst was later picked up in Bulawayo.