Kruger rhino poacher jailed three months after arrest


Proof the South African criminal justice system can work speedily comes from Skukuza in the Kruger National Park (KNP) where a poacher was jailed for an effective 22 year three months after he was caught red-handed in possession of “two fresh rhino horns”.

The arrest, conviction and sentencing of Enoch Ngobeni was welcomed by the national conservation agency SANParks with KNP Managing Executive Oscar Mthimkhulu congratulating all involved. On this list are the National Prosecuting Authority in Mpumalanga and the Skukuza Regional Court as well as the KNP ranger corps and its dedicated anti-poaching element.

Ngobeni was found guilty on six counts and sentenced as follows: trespassing in a national park (two years); being an illegal immigrant (one year) caught doing a restricted activity in a national park – hunting rhino (10 years) with, according to a SANParks statement, another 10 years for the restricted activity of hunting rhino; possession of a dangerous weapon (one year) and conspiracy to commit a crime (four years). The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently putting Ngobeni behind bars for 22 years.

In another successful anti-poaching bust, five suspects were arrested earlier this month (July) on the R40 near Hoedspruit in Limpopo. A hunting rifle, 10 rounds for it and an axe were confiscated by the task team comprising SA Police Service (SAPS) Hoedspruit and Endangered Species Unit, SANParks, Focused Conservation Solutions and Hoedspruit Farm Watch.