Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has welcomed lengthy sentences handed down to rhino poachers as well as the arrest of five people for unlawful possession of ivory.
“The sentences handed down by the Lephalale Regional Court and the swift actions of North West police in arresting five people trying to sell ivory in Rustenburg is to be commended.
“This is further proof the Integrated Strategic Management Approach adopted by government to combat rhino poaching and which is now also being applied to addressing other wildlife crimes such as ivory smuggling, is bearing fruit,” Molewa said.
Two rhino poachers, Kenny Mthethi (35) and Sam None (34) were each sentenced to 58 years imprisonment on a number of charges, including hunting protected species, theft, trespassing and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition in the Lephalale Regional Court.
The accused were found in possession of two rhino horns, a hunting rifle and four rounds of ammunition following a joint operation by police and local farmers.
In a separate matter, North West police arrested five people in Lefaragatlha near Rustenburg after a tip-off from the public about the alleged illegal sale of ivory.
“The cases in which the public were involved should serve as an example to all that working together more can be achieved,” said Dr Molewa.