The Skukuza Regional Court has convicted and sentenced Een Sihlangu (24), to an effective fifteen years of direct imprisonment for poaching-related offences. His sentence follows his conviction on two counts of trespassing in Kruger National Park, two counts of possession of a firearm with a serial number obliterated, two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon and two counts of possession of ammunition. Sihlangu was charged along with his co-accused Forster Lubisi, who pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment by the same court. This resulted in a separation of trials.

Sihlangu was arrested on two separate occasions where he illegally entered Kruger National Park. The first incident happened in 2018 when he was found with his co-accused Lubisi, in possession of a firearm, seven live ammunition, an axe, and a knife. He was subsequently arrested and later granted bail, then continued with his rhino poaching spree on 23 April 2021, with the same co-accused when they entered the Stolzneck Section of the Kruger National Park. They were found in possession of eight live ammunition, three knives, a firearm, and ammunition.  

He pleaded not guilty during trial and later changed his plea to guilty. The state prosecutor Lot Mgiba handed in ballistic reports which proved that the firearm he was found in possession of was prohibited with a serial number erased. The state addressed the court that the accused did not show remorse for his actions, after he committed the first offence, instead, he continued with illegal poaching.

Magistrate Ngobeni remarked on the swift action of the rangers in arresting Sihlangu twice before he managed to kill a rhino. He sentenced the accused to 15 years of direct imprisonment.

The National Prosecuting Authority applauds the investigating officer and the prosecutor for a job well done.

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