Mozambican rhino poachers
Report received from correspondent Simon Bloch
A South African court has handed down hefty 85-year prison sentences to three convicted Mozambican rhino poachers who killed three female rhinos near Sun City in 2018.
Mozambican nationals Arlendo Mhlanga, Adam Hlongwane and Inancio Chauke, were sentenced in the Mogwase Regional Court on October 20 2021 for the brutal killing and de-horning of 3 rhinos at Pilanesburg Game Reserve in July 2018, according to National Prosecution Authority spokesman Henry Mamothame.
It was the heaviest sentence ever handed down for rhino poaching in the country’s North West Province.
The trio were arrested on 02 July 2018, while attempting to escape from the game reserve with six rhino horns in a white Ford pick-up. They subsequently failed to make bail, and remained in police custody until the completion of the trial.
Mamothame said all three accused were convicted and found guilty on 10 counts, for which they each received 85 year prison sentences.
“They will effectively spend 35 years in prison. They were charged on three counts of illegally killing three female rhinos, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of ammunition, possession of six rhino horns, chopping six rhino horns from three rhino carcasses, intentionally and unlawfully conveying six rhino horns, theft of three rhino horns and also charged for entering the heritage site without written permission.
“From the ten (10) charges the accused were facing, the court sentenced them to a cumulative 85 years imprisonment, however it ordered some sentences to run concurrently.
“Mhlanga and his co-accused will then spend an effective 35 years in prison for the crimes they committed. The court also declared them unfit to possess firearms” he added.
In aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Advocate Douw Jacobs urged the court to consider the evidence submitted by conservation experts on the demise of the rhino population and the impact of poaching on the protected species.
He also stated for the record the devastating impact rhino poaching has on the country’s tourism industry, plus the resultant job losses encountered by individuals working in the tourism economy.
Hlongwane was also found in possession of an alleged fake South African identity document.
The Ford vehicle and other items that were in accused’s possession were ordered forfeited to the state. (Moz24h)