PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONER GLADLY WELCOMES A SENTENCE HANDED DOWN TO A POACHER
- Simon Mahumbane Lubisi (38)
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has gladly welcomed a sentence handed down by the Skukuza Regional Court to a poacher, aged 38 yesterday, Thursday, 14 October 2021.
The court sentenced Simon Mahumbane Lubisi after enough evidence was presented by the state against him. It is said that on 26 October 2014 a white rhinoceros was killed in the Lower Sabi section.
Field rangers from the Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabi, and Skukuza that reported on duty that day were on high alert after the said incident and as they were patrolling the area, they came across a group of poachers. That encounter was followed by a gunbattle resulting in one of the poachers fatally wounded whilst Lubisi was amongst the three that were arrested.
The accused as well as two of his teammates were granted bail when they appeared in court but thereafter they absconded. After failing to attend court, warrants of arrest were issued against them. A manhunt was then launched for the three men and in 2019 Lubisi was arrested but his fellows are still at large.
The accused went on trial and on Thursday (14 October 202) the case was finalised at the Skukuza Regional Court where Lubisi was convicted and sentenced as follows:
On a count of trespassing in the national park, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Meanwhile, on a count of hunting of rhinoceros in the national park, the accused was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. The accused was further sentenced to five years imprisonment for a count of conspiracy to commit a crime. Lastly, the accused was slapped with one-year imprisonment on a count of being in possession of a dangerous weapon. Therefore, Lubisi was effectively sentenced to languish in prison for 19 years.
The Provincial Commissioner further indicated that the sentence would serve as a deterrence to others who might consider emulating the actions of the accused.