SIU investigator suspended following discovery of poaching conviction

A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) forensic investigator has been suspended after the crime-busting entity became aware of his conviction for trespassing in the Kruger National Park with the intention to poach.

In a statement released by the SIU, chief governance officer advocate Mahlodi Muofhe said that the unit's head advocate, Andy Mothibi, had suspended the investigator, Rabelani Ndou, with immediate effect on Thursday.

He added that Mothibi said a disciplinary hearing for Ndou should be held immediately.

Ndou was convicted for contravening the Firearms Control Act in the Makhado Magistrate's Court in 2016. It was not clear which animal he had attempted to poach.

"He was found in possession of a firearm with the intent to hunt, trespassing in the Kruger National Park," said Muofhe.

Speaking to News24, Muofhe said that Ndou's conviction may have slipped through the cracks at the SIU because of a number of changes that were made at management level.

He added that those who ought to have taken action against Ndou at the time may have left the unit, so the matter could have been overlooked.

"As soon as we discovered this thing, Advocate Mothibi said: 'No, not in my unit'."

Muofhe said that the SIU would not tolerate any person who committed crime at the unit.

Ndou is expected to be sentenced in August.