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SANParks happy with poacher's sentencing

Date: 2013-08-16

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The South African National Parks (SANParks) today, 16 August 2013, welcomed the prison sentence meted out to a Mozambican National convicted of rhino poaching by the Nelspruit Regional Court.

Leonard Mhlongo and his accomplice, Kenneth Sibiya, were arrested by the Kruger National Park Rangers on 19 January 2013 in the Tshokwane section of the iconic Kruger National Park (KNP). They were found in possession of three horns from a black rhino cow and her calf. 

Mhlongo was found guilty on two counts of rhino poaching and trespass in the KNP.  On count one of trespass he was sentenced to a four year prison term, then on count two of poaching an adult black rhino he was sentenced to ten years and given an eight year sentence for the poaching of a juvenile black rhino. The eight and ten year sentences will run concurrently.

His co accused, Kenneth Sibiya absconded after being given bail earlier in the year. Their third accomplice, who was in possession of the rifle managed to evade arrest and escaped back into Mozambique. 

Officer Commanding Special Projects in the Kruger National Park, Major General (RET) Johan Jooste welcomed the conviction and sentencing “On behalf of our men and women on the ground, we’d like to congratulate the prosecuting team led by Isbet Erwee, the investigators who worked tirelessly to close any loopholes and the court for the steep sentence meted out yesterday. I would like to also congratulate my team for their part in arresting these criminals and preserving the crime scene. This battle is going to be won from outside and we welcome these kind of developments” concluded Jooste.

Meanwhile Jooste also welcomed the cooperation that is being provided by his counterparts in Mozambique, saying that the visit by the Minister of Environmental and Water Affairs to that country has contributed to a good working relationship that is taking shape and hopefully will turn the tide against poachers and their handlers. 

Issued by:
Paul Daphne : Head Of Communications SANParks 

Ike Phaahla
SANParks Media Specialist
Tel: 012 426 5315; Cell: 083 673 6974


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