Nine people have been arrested for crimes relating to the rhino horn trade, the Hawks said.
Five suspected poachers were found in possession of a rhino horn during an undercover operation in Bela-Bela on Tuesday afternoon.
Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said the seized horn appeared to have been poached from an adult rhino a few months ago.
The five suspects are aged between 23 and 34, and are South Africans from Mabula village and Eersterust in Hammanskraal North, Pretoria.
The arrest happened a few hours after the Hawks were summoned to a rhino poaching crime scene at Zonderwater Farm in Lephalale.
One of the animals was dehorned while the other was wounded.
Rangers at the farm accosted individuals while making their rounds on the farm on Monday. A set of rhino horns, a high calibre hunting rifle with four rounds of ammunition, a saw and a getaway car were seized.
The suspects, Kenny Sibiya, 31, Butini Ndlovu, 42, Richard Sibuyani, 48, from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga and Sam Nnone, 30, from Dark City Village in Lephalale, appeared in the Lephalale Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Their case has been postponed to 28 March 2014 for a formal bail application while they remain in custody. – SAnews.gov.za