Cape Town – A field ranger who was among three suspects who appeared at the Bushbuckridge magistrate’s court on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and for trespassing at the Kruger National Park has been released on R15 000 bail.
According to police, Bright Mashele, 36, the field ranger and his two accomplices, Collen Mathebula, 32, and Casper Mlambo, 30, tried to enter the Kruger National Park through Numbi Gate.
The trio was arrested on Saturday after the field ranger allegedly hid two alleged poachers in his bakkie, said police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala in a statement.
He said police received information about individuals who were planning to enter the park to commit crime.
“A search at Numbi Gate and Pretoriuskop section was then carried out with the assistance of a SANParks helicopter. During the operation, a certain car, white Toyota Hilux bakkie driven by a field ranger was stopped and when searching, the team discovered that underneath a sail cover at the back of the bakkie, there were two male persons who were hiding,” said Mohlala.
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Preliminary investigations suggested Mashele, who was employed by SANParks, allegedly smuggled the two men into the park through Numbi gate.
A hunting rifle without a serial number and ammunition were found hidden behind a seat, two knives were also found inside the bakkie, said Mohlala.
“The two suspects reportedly failed to produce entrance permits and were arrested together with the driver.
“The three were charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm with ammunition and two were charged for trespassing in the park. All items, including the vehicle, were seized for investigation. The vehicle is believed to have been used in the commission of crime,” said Mohlala.
Mashele and Mathebula were granted bail of R15,000 each.
Mlambo’s bail hearing was postponed after investigations revealed he had previous convictions. His formal bail hearing was set for Wednesday, said Mohlala.
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe