Mozambican sentenced for poaching in Kruger

SKUKUZA – Ndlovu was found guilty on four of five counts by magistrate Dries Lamprecht. On a first count of entering the country illegally, he was sentenced three months. On a second count of trespassing in the Kruger National Park (KNP) he was sentenced two years. On a third count of illegally hunting in the KNP he received 10 years, and on a fifth count of possessing a firearm with the intention to commit a crime, he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

On a fourth count of being in possession of a firearm illegally, he was acquitted.

Two of the sentences will be served concurrently. Specialist state prosecutor, Adv Ansie Venter told the court that Ndlovu entered the KNP without authority about 200 kilometres south of Giriyondo Border Post and was found by rangers who were on foot patrol in the Tshokwane area on April 10, 2016. The rangers heard a shot and upon investigation found the carcass of a black rhino with horns removed and three sets of footprints.

Ndlovu was seen throwing a backpack away and a fresh rhino horn was found in the bag. A .375 hunting rifle of which the serial number was obliterated, was found at the spot too.

Ndlovu alleged that he was on his way to Hoedspruit to look for a job and only met the other two men accidentally, but Lamprecht found him an unreliable witness.

As mitigating circumstances his legal representative offered that he was a first offender, that his wife had died while he was in custody and that his four children were dependent on a grandmother for care. Venter in turn offered the declining numbers of black rhinos (less than 500 are in the park) as well as the fact that Ndlovu declined a sentence of 10 or more years in a plea agreement, as aggravating circumstances.

Lamprecht agreed that the sentence should send a clear message that poaching would not be tolerated and would be punished heavily. An application for leave to appeal both the conviction and sentence, were submitted by his legal representative, but turned down by Lamprecht.

 

  AUTHOR
Mariana Balt
Environmental Journalist

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