State Security Minister David Mahlobo has been implicated in a report of rhino horn trafficking in the country.
This is according to an Al Jazeera report which had Guan Jiang Guang, the owner of a massage parlour in Mbombela, showing photographs of himself and the minister.
Guan said he knows Minister David Mahlobo and his family quite well, and that he’s had the minister visit his family once at his home and had also visited his massage parlour every week or at least twice a month.
The investigation raises serious questions about the involvement of a South African government minister and members of a Chinese presidential delegation in the illegal rhino horn trade.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) who confirmed receiving the report of Minister Mahlobo’s link with the horn traffickers said it is concerned about reports of the link between the minister and the member of a Chinese rhino poaching syndicate.
According to Popcru, Mahlobo’s alleged association with illegal rhino horn traders undermine the integrity of the very department he is heading.
The union’s Richard Mamabolo also said the state security Minister David Mahlobo can’t be expected to investigate organised crime if he is accused of committing it.
“The south African populous is looking up to people like him to ensure that we curb crime. But when he seen to be with people who are known to be part of these syndicates it diminishes the trust people have in his department.”
It’s been reported that South Africa has the largest population of poached Rhinos who had died as a result. The highest is recorded in Kruger National Park, where at least two rhino are killed for their horns by poachers every night.
Just about 25,000 rhino are said to be remaining in Africa. and few months back, the United nations sent an expert team to Vietnam and Mozambique, the two countries with the highest profiles on the illegal trade of rhino horn.
If the team, from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, doesn’t find significant progress in reducing the supply and demand for rhino horn, it could recommend sanctions.
Nevertheless, about 18 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested at the park over the past week and seven others were arrested outside the park while attempting to poach rhino.