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Media Release: SANParks welcomes recent conviction of poachers

Date: 16th March 2011

South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed a successful conviction of three suspected rhino poachers that appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Monday, 14 March 2011.

The recent conviction involved three Mozambique citizens that were arrested in October 2010 at the Crocodile Bridge Section of the Kruger National Park. The three suspects, Renaldo Franchesco Masiki, Joao Sendelani Malangute and Elvis Mdaka were found guilty of illegally hunting a rhino. Masiki and Mdaka (accused one and three) were further found guilty on charges of possession of illegal fire arms and ammunition and were sentenced to an effective nine (9) years imprisonment without an option of a fine, while accused number two, Malangute, was sentenced to an effective five years behind bars without an option of a fine. 

According to Wanda Mkutshulwa, Head of Communications at SANParks, the organisation is very pleased with this sentencing and hopes for even tougher sentences to be meted against such criminals.

Mkutshulwa said accused 1 and 3 were actually sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on each of the charges for possession of firearms and ammunition, but for the purpose of sentencing, the charges were combined to four years.

She said the last time a harsh sentence was handed down was when a Vietnamese man was  sentenced to ten years in prison after been caught trying to smuggle 18kg of rhino horns from the OR Tambo International Airport in July 2010.

South Africa has lost 71 rhinos so far this year with 46 in the Kruger National Park, nine in Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and Western Cape each losing one rhino and KwaZulu-Natal has lost six. To date 64 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested.

Issued by:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli – SANParks, General Manager: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, Tel: (012) 426 5203, Mobile: 073 373 4999 or e-mail: reyt@sanparks.org

Media enquiries:
wanda mkutshulwa – SANParks, Head of Communications, Tel: (012) 426 5170, Mobile 082 908 2692 or e-mail: wandam@sanparks.org     

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