Pretoria — The swift arrest of three men on rhino poaching charges in Brits was encouraging and was a good sign that with community support, the war against crime and the scourge of rhino poaching could be won, said North West Premier Thandi Modise.
"We commend members of the public who provided the police with information that led to the breakthrough in their investigations. That a game ranger was among those arrested is disappointing and shameful and calls for police to widen their net and not to leave any stone unturned.
"The cruelty and brutality against the rhino as a symbol of our ecology and rich heritage has gone too far and all involved in this evil trade should feel the full wrath of the law," said Modise on Tuesday.
Although no horns were found in the men's residences, police said they were linking the three suspects arrested at their homes in Lethabong township to the poaching of eight rhinos in Klipkopspruit farm over the weekend. Seven rhinos were found dead and another one was found on Monday.
The men, aged between 47 and 59, would appear in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of rhino poaching.
Modise had on Monday said that the provincial government was considering requesting the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist it to overcome the scourge of rhino poaching.
She had also said that there was a need to clamp down on the issuing of illegal hunting permits as part of intensifying law enforcement and crime intelligence to overcome the scourge of rhino poaching.