One of five men accused in the December 2018 poaching of a black rhino in the Great Fish River Reserve has died. Hilario Carlos Fumo was due to appear on 15 October but was admitted to hospital due to ill health on 30 September.
Documents from Correctional Services in Makhanda seen by Grocott’s Mail indicate that Fumo died in Livingstone Hospital, Port Elizabeth, in the early hours of 11 October.
Fumo was among four men for whom a Tsonga translator was brought to the courtroom during their bail hearing in February. The four were remanded in custody with the fifth accused, a Makhanda parademic, granted bail of R50 000.
The five men were arrested in a roadblock in Ventersburg, 150km north of Bloemfontein, on the morning of 30 December 2018. Microchips in the horns linked them to a black rhino in the Great Fish River reserve whose carcass was found there the next day.
The date for the trial in the High Court in Makhanda has been set for 1 November 2019, pending the availability of the Makhanda man’s advocate Peter Daubermann. Daubermann is currently defending human-trafficking-accused pastor Timothy Omotoso with two others in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
The three remaining accused have been represented up to this point by Advocate Charles Stamper.
Leading the Prosecution will be Senior State Advocate Buks Coetzee.