Nelspruit: 06 July 2023 – The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has positively acknowledged and noted with much appreciation, the short time taken by the court working with a formidable team consisting of the Police investigators as well as the Prosecutors. A sentenced was then handed down against a rhino poacher on Tuesday 04 July 2023. Enock Ngobeni (31), a Mozambican national was sentenced by the Skukuza Regional Court after poaching and killing two rhinoceros at the Kruger National Park three months back (17 April 2022).
The court heard how the accused together with his accomplice entered the Kruger National Park through Tshokwane Section for rhino poaching. After killing two rhinoceros, the two men dehorned the animals.
Field Rangers employed by South African National Parks (SANPARKS) were working on that fateful evening and they became aware of the intruders. They (rangers) eventually apprehended one of the intruders meanwhile his fellow somehow got away and he is still at large.
During the time of his capture, the accused was found with four rhino horns as well as other items they used to carry out their doggy business of poaching.
The Rangers alerted the police in Skukuza about the incident and the accused was arrested as well as charged accordingly. During the investigation, it was discovered that the accused was originally from Mozambique and he did not have valid documentation to be in South Africa hence an additional charge of contravention of the Immigration Act was laid against him.
The accused was then taken to court where he eventually pleaded guilty to the charges leveled against him hence he was sentenced as follows:
- On count 01 (trespassing in the Kruger National Park), the accused was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
-On count 02, (contravention of the immigration act), the accused was sentenced to one year imprisonment.
-On count 03 (carrying out a restricted activity involving or protected species without a permit), the accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
-On count 04 (carrying out a restricted activity involving or protected species without a permit), the accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment).
-On Count 05 (conspiracy to commit an offence), the accused was sentenced to four (04) years imprisonment.
-On count 06 (possession of dangerous weapon), the accused was sentenced to one (01) year imprisonment.
The court has ordered that Count 1 and 2 run concurrently meanwhile Count 4,5 and 6 will run concurrently as well. This implies that the accused was effectively sentenced to 22 years imprisonment.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela further thanked the Field Rangers from SANParks, the Investigation team, the Prosecution team as well as the Judiciary. “We hope that this sentence will serve as a deterrence to others who might consider emulating the actions of the perpetrator” said the General.