South African National Parks (SANParks) announced today the finalization of two long-running rhino poaching trials by the Skukuza Regional Court. One rhino poacher was sentenced on May 14th, while three, including a former SANParks employee, were sentenced yesterday.
Nito Mathebula was arrested in Tshokwane Section in January of 2019 while hunting in Kruger National Park illegally. Two of his accomplices managed to evade arrest. Mathebula was found guilty of trespassing in a national park, breaking the Immigration Act, and the killing of a rhino. Mathebula was sentenced to 13 years in jail after being found guilty on three poaching related charges.
Phineas Dinda, a former SANParks full corporal in the Rangers Corps, Arlindo Manyike from Mozambique, and Alfa Gwebana, a South African citizen, were arrested in the Tshokwane Section of Kruger National Park in May of 2019. The three were found guilty of trespassing in a national park, conspiracy to commit a crime, as well as possession of an unlicensed firearm, live ammunition, and an axe. Manyike was also found guilty of contravening the Immigration Act. They were all sentenced to 16 years in prison.
“We would like to congratulate the prosecution, SAPS, and our hard-working dedicated Rangers Corps who arrested the suspects and presented credible evidence that led to the sentences imposed by the courts,” Managing Executive of Kruger National Park, Gareth Coleman said in a statement. “We hope this will send a message to others that justice will ultimately be served. It is particularly concerning that one of our own employees has been arrested and imprisoned.”
Coleman noted that since the Skukuza Court resumed hearing cases on April 1st after attempts were made to close it down, there has been a significant increase in convictions.
“We expect this trend to increase and poachers may find short term benefit from poaching, but they will be apprehended, impacting themselves, their families, and community livelihoods.”
SANParks employees who have information pertaining to these cases are encouraged to come forward or use the Ethics and Fraud Hotline at 0800 000 221.
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The post Breaking! Four Poachers, Including A Former SANParks Ranger, Receive Prison Sentences For Killing Rhinos In Kruger National Park appeared first on World Animal News.