South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of three men linked to rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park.
The Skukuza Regional Court handed down 10-year prison terms to Adolph Ndlovu and Abednigo Mahlabane last week for charges including trespassing and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
A third man, Jeffrey Mathebula, was sentenced for trespassing in a national park and fined R10,000, alternatively two years imprisonment, of which half is suspended for five years.
SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said: “It is very encouraging to note that the perpetrators are not just arrested, but they are also sentenced as it should be. This is a step in the right direction and it goes to show how this poaching scourge can be overcome if we all work together.”
On Thursday, the Hawks said it had arrested three people alleged to be the masterminds behind a rhino poaching syndicate in Gauteng.
Three premises were searched during the bust. Two Chinese nationals and a Taiwanese man were arrested.
The operation came after the conclusion of a year-long investigation led by the Hawks in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, which successfully infiltrated a notorious Chinese syndicate trafficking rhino horns from SA to South East Asian countries.