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News24 | Two fisheries officials get five-year sentences in abalone poaching case

News24 | Two fisheries officials get five-year sentences in abalone poaching case

  • The last two officials of the former Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who were arrested in 2018 were sentenced on Friday. 
  • They were accused of colluding with abalone poachers by illegally selling back the seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipments.
  • They pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Two officials who worked for the former Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, who were arrested in 2018 for allegedly colluding with abalone poachers by illegally selling back the seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipments, have been sentenced.

Winston Busch and Nomvuyo Motloung were sentenced in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

In March 2018, Hawks members attached to the Economic Protected Resources unit – assisted by the Tactical Response Team, the Special Task Force and the Asset Forfeiture Unit, as well as officials from the department – conducted an integrated takedown operation that saw 18 people being arrested and charged.  

Busch received five-year sentences for various charges including managing and participating in illegal activities of an enterprise, money laundering, corruption and possession of abalone. All sentences will run concurrently.

Motloung got a three-year correctional supervision sentence for managing and participating in illegal activities of an enterprise.

She also received fully suspended sentences for money laundering, corruption and possession of abalone. 

Busch and Motloung were among nine marine inspectors from the department who allegedly colluded with a syndicate.

(Supplied by the Hawks)

Nomvuyo Motloung.

(Supplied by the Hawks)

Winston Busch.

The others were Zihle Diko, Craven Mxaku, Linda Nkeleni, John Karelse, Allistair Maans, Adam Baadjies and Rudolph Louw. 

The alleged abalone syndicate had eight members: Richard Malan, Dennis Swartz, Donovan Williams, Eugene Herandien, Courtley May, Solomon Sauls, Frederick Myburgh and Preston Julies.

It allegedly operated in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Bredasdorp, Stanford, Pearly Beach and Kuilsriver.

Williams was killed in a shooting incident in 2019. Three other accused also died while the matter was on the court roll.

The charges against the other two accused were withdrawn.

Ten accused were convicted and sentenced on 11 August 2023. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that only one official received a jail term.


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