Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Media Room Provincial Caucuses Jobs Links Support Services Tenders ANC Homepage

Government officials among those linked to Abalone Syndicate

MS Maila

The arrest by the Hawks of 16 people in various parts of the Overberg, who are thought to be linked to an illegal abalone syndicate should be commended. The suspects were apprehended on Tuesday last week as the clampdown on the illegal abalone trade is intensifying. The ANC is very disturbed that nine cops and two officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries were among a ring of 17 people arrested on charges of corruption and poaching. The accused officials are facing seven charges which include racketeering, theft, defeating the ends of justice and corruption. The massive breakthrough follows a two-year investigation by the Hawks, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, DAFF, TRT and Task Team.

It is believed that the DAFF officials allegedly aided abalone poachers by selling back abalone seized during their daily routine, and were further involved in ensuring illegal abalone shipments. During the arrests, an undisclosed amount of cash was recovered at the premises of one of the suspects, while in another, an illegal firearm was recovered. We commend the Hawks for their swift action in arresting the officials who were not only corrupt but had also brought the department into disrepute. The arrest is a huge breakthrough for authorities in protecting South Africa's valuable perlemoen industry. We call for harsher punishments meted out to those officials if found guilty, in order to send a clear warning to those who choose to participate in these criminal acts.

I thank you

« back