Poaching case awaits Tsonga translator

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Magistrate Sarel Strauss has set down for 31 January the next appearance of five men arrested on rhino poaching charges. A Makhanda (Grahamstown) paramedic appeared for the second time on Wednesday 23 January alongside four Mozambican nationals in the Magistrate’s Court in Makhanda (Grahamstown).

Senior State Advocate Buks Coetzee said the men had been arrested in the Free State on 30 December in possession of two rhino horns. Microchips in the horns had linked them to a black rhino in the Great Fish River reserve whose carcass was found there the next day.

Representing the local man is *Declan WIlliamson. Charles Stamper, from Legal Aid, is representing the other four accused.

Coetzee said one of the accused  required a Tsonga interpreter. None of the men has pleaded.

Spokesperson for the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape Lwandile Sicwetsha confirmed that the local person accused, whose name is known to Grocott’s Mail, is an Advanced Life Support Paramedic in the Grahamstown area. However, he noted that the charges were not in any way linked to his work.

“The charges are not in any way linked to his work and [this matter]should not be associated with the department,” Sicwetsha emphasised. “The department views this matter in a serious light.”

* Counsel for the first accused was earlier mistakenly referred to as Basil Williams. The reporter apologises for the error.

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