Three rhino poachers were sentenced to 105 years in prison by the Skukuza Regional Court on Friday, 2 September.
The South African National Parks (SANParks) welcomed the sentencing of Shangani Mathebula, Emmanuel Mdhluli and Walter Hendrik Mangane who were caught red-handed in 2017.
The poachers were arrested after killing three rhinos in Marula (southern) section of the Kruger National Park. Two of the convicted poachers, Mathebula and Mdhluli, are from Mozambique. Mangane is South African.
During the sentencing, the magistrate detailed the brutal way in which the three poachers killed three rhinos execution style. Evidence was stacked against them because they were caught in the process of plundering the animals.
Managing Executive of the KNP, Gareth Coleman congratulated the Environmental Crime Investigative Unit and Ranger Services for working closely with the Investigating Officer and the other South African Police Service Units to bring solid evidence before the court.
He commended the Prosecuting Team for a stellar job in arguing for a stiff sentence and thanked the Rangers, Air Services and K9 Units for their swift reaction in apprehending the accused and ensuring that justice is served.
“These sentences should serve as a deterrent to those intending to come and kill our natural heritage and destroying the livelihoods of our people. We have in the past few months intensified our security efforts in the Park to good effect but successful convictions requires that the prosecutorial and justice pillars in our society are operating effectively. These sentences will motivate the teams who work tirelessly day and night to protect our fauna and flora,” said Coleman.