The SA National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed this week’s successful prosecution in two long-standing rhino poaching court cases in the Mhala Regional Court in Mpumalanga.
On Monday, the court concluded another rhino poaching case that had stalled – dating back to 2016. The accused, Bennet Martin Lubisi and Bennet Johannes Bendane, were sentenced to eight years behind bars.
They were found guilty of trespassing in the national park, possession of an unlicensed fire arm and ammunition with the intention to commit a crime. National Prosecuting Authority provincial spokeswoman Monica Nyuswa said rhino poaching trials in the province usually had successful prosecutions.
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“The conviction rate is 99.2% and we only had two acquittals in eight years in the province.”
Last month, three men who were arrested in 2018, were sentenced after a lengthy trail. They were all found
guilty of rhino poaching related charges, including the possession of two sets of rhino horns, a high-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and trespassing in a national park with the intention of committing crime and the
illegal hunting of an endangered animal.
Peter Mathebula was sentenced to 23 years, while Mustard Mathebula and Arthur Valoyi got four years each.
The three were arrested by rangers in the Houtboschrand section of the Kruger Park.
The park’s managing executive, Gareth Coleman, praised all those in involved.
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“Although it has taken some time, we’re proud of the work done by rangers and the investigating and prosecuting teams under difficult circumstances.
“Successes of this nature show the importance of cooperation between the various state agencies to help combat the assault on the rhino population in the Kruger National Park,” he said.
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