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Three poachers found guilty await sentencing in South Africa

Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
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Three poachers found guilty await sentencing in South Africa

Tulani Ngwenya

MPUMALANGA, South Africa – The Skukuza Regional Court has convicted three poachers, Dominic Mnisi, Lwazi Malambe, and Ayanda Ngomane, of multiple offences related to rhino poaching.

The men, whose activities have posed a significant threat to the country’s rhino population, are now in custody, awaiting sentencing on 21 June 2024.

The case dates back to January 2017, when Mnisi and Malambe were arrested at Stolsnek. They were found with a rifle, ammunition, and four fresh rhino horns and were later linked to two rhinos that had recently been killed nearby.

Despite the serious charges, both were granted bail.

In October 2019, rangers in the Malelane Section responded to gunshots and found a freshly killed rhino whose horns had already been removed.

Mnisi, out on bail from the 2017 case, and Ngomane, were apprehended with a rifle, ammunition, a knife, and two rhino horns.

The combined trial for the said cases began in July 2023 and ended with the convictions on 23 May 2024. The court’s verdicts included convictions for trespassing in a national park, hunting rhinos in a national park, possession of an unlicensed firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a gun with the intention to commit a crime, possession of unlicensed ammunition, and cruelty to animals in the 2019 case involving Dominic Mnisi and Ayanda Ngomane.

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For the 2017 case involving Dominic Mnisi and Lwazi Malambe, the convictions included possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of a firearm to commit a crime, hunting of an adult rhino, hunting of a sub-adult rhino, possession of a prohibited firearm (no serial number), conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of unlicensed ammunition, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

South African National Parks (SANParks) has praised the court’s decision as a crucial step in the fight against rhino poaching. They hope these convictions will serve as a deterrent to others and help protect the endangered rhino population.

“Well, we’re happy as the Kruger National Park with the conviction of the three poachers who killed these iconic animals and we hope that the sentence will be a long one, deserving of the crime that was committed. We hope that the other poachers will take note that the hand of the law is long and patient and delivers justice at the end of the day,” SANParks spokesperson, Ike Phaahla, said.

The upcoming sentencing is expected to deliver a strong message against wildlife crimes.

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Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
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