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Man sentenced to 19 years for poaching-related offences in KNP

The offender was first arrested on August 18, 2018, and was rearrested on September 18 after absconding.

The Skukuza Regional Court sentenced Sydney Silver Zitha (42) to 19 years’ direct imprisonment for poaching-related offences on Friday June 14.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) regional spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, said the accused was found guilty of trespassing the Kruger National Park (KNP), possession of a firearm as well as ammunition, conspiracy to commit an offence and possession of dangerous weapon.

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“On August 8, 2018, rangers were patrolling the Manyeleti section in the KNP when they found Zitha and an unknown suspect in possession of a firearm and an axe. The unknown suspect pointed the firearm at the rangers and they fatally shot him in self-defence. Zitha was apprehended but absconded after he was granted bail. While the warrant of arrest was issued against him, he was rearrested after committing a similar offence in September 2018, when he shot and killed a rhino in the Tshokwane section of the park.”

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At the sentencing, the state, represented by Prosecutor Lot Mgiba, provided lead evidence of a ballistic report as well as statements from rangers who apprehended Zitha. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

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