The DFFE welcomes hefty sentence handed down to rhino poachers

6 September 2021

 

The hefty sentences handed down to three rhino poachers in the Skukuza Regional Court convicted of rhino poaching sends a strong message that the illegal killing of this iconic species will not be tolerated. 

Walter Hendrick Mangange, 59, Shangani Mathebula, 26, and Emmanuel Mdluli, 33, were convicted on 2 September on charges related to rhino poaching, including entering the Kruger National Park with intent to commit a crime, including the possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapons and three counts of hunting rhinoceros.

Rangers using trackers dogs had spotted the men shooting two rhino when they were investigating gunshots heard in the park.  The poachers were arrested with the support of the SANParks helicopter team. They were found in possession of a rifle of which the serial number had been filed off, ammunition and rhino horns stashed in a backpack.

Mangane was sentenced to a total of 45 years’ imprisonment and Mdluli to 30 years in jail for trespassing, numerous charges related to the illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapon and three counts of rhino poaching.

Mathebula, a Mozambican national who was in South Africa illegally, received a 30-year sentence for contravening the immigration act, trespassing, charges related to the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapons and three counts of hunting rhino.

World Rhino Day is annually marked on 22 September.   This sentence is a welcome example of the successes being achieved through the collaborative approach taken by government to combat rhino poaching.  In this instance, the success is attributed to the teamwork by the rangers, police and prosecutors to secure this conviction.   

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Albi Modise
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