In a telephone interview, a spokesperson of South Africa’s North West Province police, Superintendent Lesego Metsi, confirmed at the weekend that they recently arrested a Motswana national on suspicion of ivory smuggling.
He said the suspect, Lenyeletse Sedimba, 35, was arrested while attempting to cross into South Africa at the Bray border post.
Metsi said the arrest came after the South African police service received a tip off that a suspected Botswana ivory dealer was smuggling ivory into South Africa.
“We have not yet established exactly who the recipient of the ivory was but we hope that the detectives, sooner rather than later, will reveal the alleged recipients of the ivory,” said Metsi.
He added that the ivory had a street value of about R1, 2 million.
The suspect, he said, is in police custody and was expected to appear before the Vryburg regional magistrate court on 26 August when his bail application will also be heard.
It is believed that there is a considerable amount of illegal ivory traffic through the Bray border post into South Africa, referred to as ‘the silent border’ by government authorities.
The ivory smugglers monitor the border posts for the best times to do their costly mischief when the authorities are not at their most vigilant.
The Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Alba Orapeleng, simply said, “Ivory theft is contained”.