The Skukuza Regional Court has convicted and sentenced three accused to various sentences, for poaching-related offences. Zwelithini Mathebula (37) and Lucky Mhlongo (39), were sentenced to 34 years imprisonment while their co-accused Teddy Dlamini (37), was sentenced to 39 years imprisonment. The three were arrested in November 2019, along with their two co-accused who absconded after they were granted bail.

The three were convicted of killing three rhinos, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of ammunition, and possession of a dangerous weapon. Dlamini was further convicted of pointing a firearm and trespassing in the National Park. On 23 November 2019, a ranger was patrolling in the Malelani section when he spotted a vehicle with five occupants. Upon stopping it, Dlamini pointed a firearm to the ranger and when searching it, a riffle and six rhino horns were found in the vehicle and arrested them. The ranger continued with the search and found three carcasses a few meters away from the scene.

They pleaded not guilty, and State Prosecutor Lot Mgiba, led evidence of the arresting officer who testified from what he observed when arresting the accused, as well as the evidence of DNA which was found in Dlamini’s clothes. It positively linked him with the one carcass. Evidence of a bullet that was found in a carcass also confirmed that the bullet was fired from the riffle which was found in the accused’s possession.

The National Prosecuting Authority is pleased with the sentence imposed on the accused and commends the prosecution and the investigating team for a job well done.

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