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Illness postpones rhino heist case

Nelspruit - The bail application of four men accused of stealing 112 pieces of rhino horn was postponed on Monday because the prosecutor in the case was sick.

Gideon Mtshali, 51, Leonard Sizwe Malatjie, 34, Velly William Zwane, 43, and Selby George Khoza, 39, appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court to apply for bail, according to a Sapa correspondent.

More than 100 rhino horns were stolen from this strongroom at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. Photo: Supplied. Credit: SUPPLIED

The court was told prosecutor Ansie Venter was off sick.

“The state prosecutor is sick and cannot attend the case. According to your lawyers, the State has agreed with the defence to postpone the case to other available dates,” said Magistrate Christa du Plessis.

The four face charges of theft and housebreaking. The rhino horns were stolen from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) offices in Mbombela.

Mtshali and Malatjie have pleaded not guilty to the charges while the other two have not been asked to plead.

During the introduction of the case, the court heard that the horns had a street value of R116 million.

Du Plessis postponed the bail applications to August 22, 25, 26 and 29.

“We hope that if we do not finish on the first day we will continue on the set dates for the bail applications,” said Du Plessis.

Sapa

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