3 SA nationals fined for illegal sables exports

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Three South Africans facing charges of illegally exporting sables to their country using an undesignated route were yesterday fined $2 600 each after they were convicted of various charges.

BY MOSES MATENGA

The three, Edwin Hewitt, (49), Blignaut Hendrik Johannes (41) and Pretorius Herbert John (49) were convicted on their own plea of guilty when they appeared before Beitbridge magistrate Willard Mafios Moyo.

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They were facing three charges of illegal capture and translocation of wildlife, attempting to export wildlife illegally and crossing an international boundary using an undesignated exit point.

Magistrate Moyo ordered the accused to each pay a $300 fine for the first count or six months in prison, $2 000 for the second count or three months in prison, while three vehicles (two Land Cruisers and a Toyota Hilux D4D), three trailers and a dart gun were forfeited to the State.

For count three, the accused were fined $300 or six months in prison.

Blessing Gundani prosecuted, while Mabasa of Mabasa Legal Practitioners represented the accused.

The accused have since paid the fines and are in the process of going back to South Africa.

The three were arrested on September 11 while attempting to smuggle 29 sables (seven males, 16 females and 6 calves) valued at $348 000 to South Africa.

It was the State case that the three had no capture and translocation permits and had no export permits for the sables, while the only document they had was a movement permit issued by the Department of Veterinary Services, Hwange Office.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has since deployed rangers to the site for safekeeping of the sables in enclosures.