Nelspruit: 09 May 2023 – One of the most wanted suspects in rhino poaching related cases in Mpumalanga, Odis Maluleke (47), a Mozambican National was rearrested at Kabokweni on Saturday, 06 May 2023 after police got information of his whereabouts. Thanks to the whistleblowers as well as members of the SAPS from Skukuza Stock Theft Unit who were assisted by members from Tactical Response Team (TRT). The man is said to have been running away from facing court cases against him where he was allegedly involved in poaching.
According to the report, Maluleke was initially apprehended together with three of his fellows on 20 July 2015. The ages of the other three South African male suspects were 30, 35 and 49 at the time. It is said that when they were cornered, the four were trying to enter the Park through the Skukuza Kruger Gate and their car was searched. During the search, security guards discovered a hunting rifle, 12 live ammunition as well as an axe inside their vehicle.
The Police at Skukuza Station were immediately informed about the incident and the men and women in Blue attended the scene where the four were arrested as well as charged accordingly. Maluleke got bail of R20 000 but failed to return to court at some point whilst his fellows attended court then a warrant for his arrest was issued.
In 2019 the Police as well as SANParks officials received information about poaching. A follow up was made and on 15 February 2019 four suspects were arrested, amongst them was Maluleke. The ages of the other three South African males arrested with Maluleke were 31, 39 and 50 by then. The three were not the ones that were apprehended with Maluleke in 2015. During the arrest, the suspects were found in possession of two rhino horns, a hunting rifle, five live ammunition, as well as a knife. All four suspects were arrested and charged accordingly.
During last their court attendances, the other three south African suspects were granted R3000 bail each. On the other hand, initially Maluleke was not granted bail for the second time but the amount for his bail was R30 000. The suspect was expected to show up in court but he absconded again. Another warrant for his arrest was issued and the Police were in pursuit for him but fortunately on the said Saturday he was captured again.
Maluleke appeared yesterday, 08 May 2023 at the Mhala Regional Court where his case was posponed to 18 May 2023 for further investigation meanwhile the suspect remains in custody until his appearance in the Skukuza Regional Court.
Meanwhile the cases against other suspects that were arrested with Maluleke are still proceeding in court except the 50-year-old male suspect who has since passed on iron 25 January 2021.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the arrest of the suspect and the General is adamant that justice will prevail.