Two suspects, who were arrested earlier this month after they were found in possession of a lion’s head, have been granted R1,500 bail each.
Joseph Modime, 59, and Emily Mashaba, 54, on Monday appeared at the Zeerust Magistrates’ Court in the North West, where their case was postponed to 16 February 2022 for further investigations, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.
“Following the verification of their addresses, the court granted them bail under strict conditions that they should refrain from interacting with state witnesses [and] they should avail themselves on their next court appearance, but failure to do so will result in a warrant of arrest being issued against them,” said the NPA’s provincial spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, in a statement.
The pair was arrested following an intelligence tip-off that resulted in a sting operation by a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement that included the Hawks, Lehurutshe K9, Zeerust Stock Theft Unit, and members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.
The Hawks reported that Modime and Mashaba were travelling from Tembisa in Gauteng seeking a traditional healer to sell the lion’s head to for an amount of R350, 000.
“The report further indicated that this sale was intercepted by a police agent who arranged a traditional healer, leading to the arrest of the two at a petrol station in Zeerust. A lion’s head was found in their possession, wrapped in refuse bags,” Mamothame said.
The suspects were charged with the contravention of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA).
Further investigations by the Hawks on the case continued.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe