South Africa is home to almost 80% of Africa’s rhino population, but there are only roughly 25 000 rhinos left in our country.
The reason for their dwindling numbers has a lot to do with poaching. Almost 1 000 rhino are killed every year for their horns, most of which are destined for Asia, where they are used in traditional medicines.
The horns are worth more in weight than cocaine, meaning that the industry is a lucrative one. As commissions of inquiry into state capture are slowly revealing, when it comes to cash, anyone is corruptible in South Africa.
The BBC recently dug deep into a criminal enterprise involving rhino-horn smugglers and a court syndicate in KwaZulu-Natal, and managed to make contact with a whistle-blower:
He alleges he took money given to a lawyer from rhino-horn kingpins and paid it to people within the judiciary.
The lawyer, Welcome Ngwenya, denies that he was involved in paying bribes.
But investigations, involving others informants, point to a court syndicate that could be keeping rhino killers beyond the reach of the law.
The informant, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Fresh’, passed a lie detector test and has now gone into hiding.
Fresh’s affidavit implicates a number of legal practitioners, including Eric Nzimande, the most senior magistrate in KwaZulu-Natal.
We don’t want to give away too much more, because the BBC recently released the full doccie. It’s not always easy watching, but it is worth watching:
The really scary thing is that if the justice system is proven to be corrupt, it not only threatens an endangered species, but also calls into question the police and the justice system more broadly.
Does the corruption extend to other cases as well?
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