Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries welcomes sentences of abalone syndicate members

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries welcomes the heavy sentences of abalone syndicate members by the High Court

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries welcomes and applauds the High Court for the guilty verdict and sentences of members of a transnational organised crime enterprise involved in abalone poaching and smuggling.

On Monday 19 March 2018, a protracted criminal trial that commenced in 2006, over a decade ago, involving Abalone Syndicates reached its end at the High Court. The court declared the Abalone Syndicates members under the leadership of Mr Willie van Rensburg and his co-accused, guilty and sentenced them.

The syndicate members were sentenced on 19 March 2018 as follows: Willie van Rensburg (a previous abalone rights holder prior to Section 28 processes) was sentenced to 8 years 6 months on each of the abalone charges, a total of 19 years and 4 months, Adriaan Wildscutte was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months, Tony Du Toit was sentenced to 15 years and 6 months on each abalone charge, Phillip Muller was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months on each of the abalone charges, and Johannes Liebenberg sentenced to 1 year suspended for 5 years.

DAFF appreciates the hard work of the Police investigating officers and the Prosecutors that had been dealing with this case. DAFF understands the enormous complexity of Abalone poaching and smuggling, therefore heavy jail sentences against poachers and smugglers of Abalone are needed for deterrence and justice purposes.

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries will continue to work with all relevant national and international law enforcement stake holders in ensuring the sustainability of Marine Living Resources.

Source: Government of South Africa