THE trial of Zimbabwean professional hunter, Theodore Bronkhorst, on a charge of conniving with three South Africans to smuggle 29 sables across the Limpopo River in September this year, has been moved to February 3 next year.
BY SILAS NKALA
This emerged yesterday as Bronkhorst appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Gladmore Mushove for routine remand.
Bronkhorst, who is out of custody on $500 bail, was represented by Advocate Perpetual Dube.
The court heard that on July 13 this year, Bronkhorst imported 50 sables from Zambia and bred them at Msuna Ranch in Hwange. On September 9, Bronkhorst is alleged to have connived with South African nationals, Edwin Hewitt, John Herbert Pretorius and Hedrick Blignaut, to smuggle the animals worth $435 000 into South Africa through an illegal exit point on the Limpopo River.
Bronkhorst allegedly obtained an animal movement permit from the veterinary offices in Hwange, after misrepresenting that the sables were being moved to West Nicholson.
On the strength of the permit, the three South Africans moved the animals to Beitbridge, where they hired Thembani Sibanda of Beitbridge to assist them to skip the border. They then went to an illegal crossing point near Nottingham Estate, but their vehicles got stuck in the river bed.
The South Africans were arrested by security personnel on patrol and disclosed during interrogation that they had been assisted by Bronkhorst and Sibanda to smuggle the animals.
Sibanda was arrested two days later, while Bronkhorst was later picked up in Bulawayo.
Jeremiah Mtsindikwa prosecuted.