The Skukuza Regional Court has today convicted and sentenced Forster Lubisi (43), to an effective 32 years’ direct imprisonment for poaching-related offences. Lubisi pleaded guilty to the crime and was subsequently convicted of three counts of trespassing, two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm with a serial number obliterated, possession of ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapon, killing of a rhino and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Lubisi was arrested on three separate occasions by the rangers with different accomplices in Skukuza National Park. The first two incidents happened in Skukuza Section. On 15 April 2015, Skukuza rangers were patrolling when they heard gunshots and followed tracks. They found Lubisi with his co-accused, Nelson Ndlovu in possession of a rifle, ammunition, and an exe. The rangers went back to the direction where they heard gunshots and found a carcass.

Lubisi and Ndlovu were arrested and granted bail. While on bail, Lubisi continued with his poaching spree on 29 July 2018 where he was found with another accomplice, Een Sihlangu in possession of a hunting rifle and ammunition. On a third occasion, which happened on 23 April 2021, Lubisi illegally entered Skukuza National Park using Stolznek Section with his co- accused in another matter, Sihlangu where they were found in possession of a hunting rifle, ammunition and three knives. They were subsequently arrested and denied bail.

All cases were joined together. During the trial, Lubisi pleaded guilty to all counts which resulted in separation of trials. In aggravation of sentence, the state prosecutor Lot Mgiba handed in positive DNA results which linked Lubisi with the offence including the ballistic report which showed that the firearm that was used during the commission of the offence is the same firearm that was found in his possession.  The court sentenced Lubisi to 32 years of direct imprisonment.  The trial against his two co-accused, Sihlangu and Ndlovu will resume on 02 February 2023, in the same court.

The National Prosecuting Authority is pleased with the sentence imposed on the accused with the hope that it will deter like-minded poachers. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *