Seven years on Kruger rhino poachers convicted


Further proof “the wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine”* comes from South Africa’s Kruger National Park where three suspects, apprehended on poaching charges going back as far as 2017, are in custody awaiting sentencing on 21 June.

The three – Dominic Mnisi, Lwazi Malambe and Ayanda Ngomane – were convicted in the Skukuza Regional Court last month (May).

A SANParks statement has it Mnisi and Malambe were arrested in January 2017 at Stolsnek after they were found in possession of a rifle, ammunition and four fresh rhino horns. The horns were later linked to two freshly killed white rhino found not far from where the accused were apprehended. They were granted bail during a formal bail application.

In October 2019, field rangers at Malelane Section following up on gunshots recovered the remains of a freshly killed rhino with horns removed. Further follow-up including a tracker dog, saw Mnisi, out on bail after being arrested in 2017, and Ngomane apprehended. The two had a rifle, ammunition, knife and two rhino horns in their possession.

Both cases were transferred to Skukuza Regional Court for a combined trial, the SANParks statement has it. The trial started 11 months ago in July 2023 and ended with their conviction on 23 May 2024.

Mnisi and Ngomane were convicted of trespassing, hunting rhino in a national park and five other charges for the 2019 case.

The 2017 case saw Mnisi and Malambe charged and convicted for, among others, hunting rhino (adult and sub-adult) and possession of an unlicensed firearm with the intention to commit a crime.

*Sun Tzu, Chinese general, strategist and philosopher (771 to 256BC) author “The Art of War”.