In ensuring that we protect the marine resources and stop illegal abalone poaching in the province, SAPS and DAFF members acted upon information received about possible abalone poaching at Robben Island yesterday, 19 November 2019 at about 02:00. While patrolling the surrounding waters, the members spotted a number of boats which sped off after becoming aware of police presence. The divers were however left behind in the sea.
Under the backings of Operation Phakisa various SAPS role-players were activated to assist for the search of suspected poachers which resulted in the arrest 17 suspects for transgressing the Marine Living Resource Act, (Protection of wild abalone) and being in possession of prohibited gear in a listed area. No abalone was however found in their possession.
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon the members acted on information about more people still hiding on the island and that vessels were preparing to fetch the poachers from the island. The members conducted a further search at Robben Island Murray's Bay and arrested seven suspects found hiding between the rocks outside of the harbour wall dressed in diving gear. Eight diving kits were confiscated.
All 24 suspects aged between 21 and 50 from Hermanus, Hout Bay, Kleinmond and Grassy Park are expected make a court appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday, 21 November 2019.
The Western Cape Acting Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenants General Sindile Mfazi commended the members for their commitment to protect the marine resources.