South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed the heavy sentence handed out to a poacher caught in the Kruger National Park in 2015, who was given an effective 30 years in prison.
The Mhala Regional Court convicted Norman Khoza on seven charges related to rhino poaching. The court found him guilty on charges of being an illegal immigrant; trespassing in a National Park; possession of an unlicensed firearm; possession of unlicensed ammunition; possession of a firearm with the intent to commit a crime; killing of two rhinoceros, and possession of a dangerous weapon.
He was sentenced to an effective thirty years in prison for all the crimes. The CEO of SANParks Fundisile Mketeni today welcomed the sentence and congratulated all who ensured that the evidence presented to the court was convincing enough to guarantee a successful prosecution.
“The sentence will send a message to all the criminals who are awaiting trial and those intending to plunder our natural heritage that their criminal acts will not go unpunished. This illustrates that the cooperation between SANParks Rangers Corp, Environmental Crime Investigative Unit (ECI), South African Police Services and the National Prosecutions Agency is crucial in fighting the scourge of rhino poaching,” said Mketeni.
SANParks went on to report that there are still 182 poaching related cases that still need to be finalised and said it is hoped that the courts will continue to mete out appropriate heavy sentences to send out a message that crime does not pay.