Sunday, 21 July, 2024

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Three poachers expected to be sentenced tomorrow

South African National Parks (SANParks) today welcomed the conviction of three poachers by the Skukuza regional court.

Dominic Mnisi, Lwazi Malambe and Ayanda Ngomane were remanded in custody until sentencing, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

According to Ike Phaahla, spokesperson of the Kruger National Park, Mnisi and Malambe were arrested in January 2017 at Stolsnek after they were found in possession of a rifle, ammunition and four fresh rhino horns, which were later linked to two freshly killed white rhino found not far from where the accused were apprehended. The two were granted bail during a formal bail application.

“In October 2019, field rangers at Malalane Section followed up on gunshots and recovered the remains of a freshly killed rhino. The horns had been removed. With the assistance of a tracker dog, the team apprehended Mnisi, who was out on bail, and Ayanda Ngomane. The two were found in possession of a rifle, ammunition, a knife and two rhino horns,” he says.

Both cases were transferred to Skukuza regional court for a combined trial that began in July 2023 and ended with their conviction on 23 May this year. 

Regarding the 2019 case, Mnisi and Ngomane have been convicted on charges of trespassing in a national park, hunting of rhino in a national park, possession of an unlicensed firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a firearm with the intention to commit a crime, the possession of unlicensed ammunition, and cruelty to an animal.

Regarding the 2017 case, Mnisi and Malambe have been convicted on charges of the possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of a firearm with the intention to commit a crime, hunting of rhino (adult), hunting of rhino (sub-adult), possession of a prohibited firearm (no serial number), conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of unlicensed ammunition, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

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