Two people have been arrested with a lion’s head in their possession which they planned to sell to a traditional healer. They were arrested in Zeerust, a commercial town situated in Ngaka Modiri Molema district North West Province, South Africa. The two who were caught earlier this month appeared in the Zeerust Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The two accused persons will return to court next month.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame, the accused Joseph Modime (59) and Emily Mashaba(54) were granted bail.
“The suspects’ Modime and Mashaba in a lion’s head case were granted bail of R1500 each, and the matter was postponed to 16 February 2022 for further investigations,” he said.
They were granted bail of a R1500 each.
He added that after verifying their addresses, the court granted them bail under strict conditions.
“They should refrain from interacting with state witnesses, they should avail themselves on their next court appearance but failure to do so will result in a warrant of arrest being issued against them,” Mamothame said.
They were both charged with the contravention of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) after they were caught in possession of a lion’s head.
“Their court appearance emanates from their arrest following an intelligence tip-off that resulted in a sting operation by the Mahikeng based Serious Organised Crime Investigation team from the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS), Lehurutshe K9, Zeerust Stock Theft Unit and members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment,” he said.
Mamothame said the HAWKS reported that the two suspects were travelling from Tembisa in Johannesburg, seeking a traditional healer to sell the lion’s head to for an amount of R350 000.
The report further indicated that this sale was intercepted by a police agent who arranged a traditional healer, leading to the arrest of the two at a petrol station in Zeerust. A lion’s head was found in their possession, wrapped in refuse bags.
Further investigations by the HAWKS are underway after they seized the lion’s head from the suspects.