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Western Cape police winning fight against abalone poaching?

This week, two men were arrested in a multi-million rand perlemoen bust in Gordon’s Bay.

A total of 5626 units of shucked abalone worth R800,000 estimated street value were confiscated by the police. Picture: Saps.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape police believe they are winning the fight against abalone poachers following several busts.

South African Police Services (Saps) management yesterday briefed the Provincial Legislature's Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture on anti-poaching operations.

Deputy provincial commissioner Thembisile Patekile told officials that poached abalone worth more than R45 million was seized in the 2015-2016 financial year.

This week, two men were arrested in a multi-million rand perlemoen bust in Gordon's Bay.

Police have identified 21 poaching hotspots, including Robben Island, Paternoster, Hout Bay, Cape Point and Hawston.

General Thembisile Patekile says there are successes, which include 271 arrests since 2015.

"There's hope and we want to ensure the people of the Western Cape that we're dealing with this matter. We're serious about it, hence you see the confiscations that we get on the abalone."

But some committee members believe the Saps and the Fisheries Department, which did not show up for the briefing, have failed communities because there's no concise plan against poaching.

South Africa Revenue Services customs officials have also told the committee that abalone worth more than R350 million has been exported legally this year.

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