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National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega has welcomed the heavy sentence imposed by the Nelspruit Regional Court on a convicted rhino poacher after he was sentenced to 77 years behind bars yesterday.
General Phiyega thanked the Skukuza Detective Services for their sterling work that led to the successful conviction and sentencing of Mandla Chauke who was charged with a count of murder, three counts of illegal hunting of rhino, theft of horns, illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of ammunition as well as trespassing into a national park.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The court heard during the trial that Chauke and two accomplices entered the Kruger National Park illegally on 23 April 2011, armed with an unlicensed 9mm pistol as well as a hunting rifle, where they shot three rhino, killing the adult bull and badly wounding the cow and an almost adult calf in the process.
Their actions on the day and gunshots attracted the attention of the on-duty rangers who were on patrol.
Upon coming face to face with the rangers, a gunfight ensued whereby one suspect disappeared into the park and was never apprehended while the other one, identified as Samson Elias Msimango was shot dead and Chauke arrested.
Among the items recovered from the Chauke were rhino horn, as well as firearms and ammunition.
He was sentenced to 15 years for murder, 10 years for each of the three counts of illegally hunting rhino, 8 years for the theft of rhino horn, 15 years for illegally possessing firearms, 7 years for the illegal possession of ammunition as well as 2 years on the trespassing conviction.
General Phiyega has warned poachers that the South African Police Service will leave no stone unturned in the fight against rhino poachers and poaching and praised the investigating team from Skukuza for continuing to ensure that poachers are brought to book and convicted.
South African National Parks (SANParks) today, 22 July 2014, welcomed the heavy sentencing of a rhino poacher to a total of 77 years in prison for rhino poaching and related offences. He was sentenced in the Nelspruit Magistrates Court today.
Mandla Chauke was arrested in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2011 after he had killed three rhino calves.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of SANParks, Abe Sibiya commended the courts in particular Magistrate Msibi, for imposing such a lengthy jail term. This is a huge triumph for the rhino and we warmly welcome this reward as it will provide the much needed boost to the anti poaching teams who endure harsh conditions for the protection of our parks.
The KNP has lost 370 animals to poaching since January this year and 62 people were arrested in connection with some of the cases.
“Our wish is to see a significant increase in such convictions and for the law enforcement authorities in affected countries to cooperate and work with us to end this scourge”, concluded Sibiya.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Kruger National Park Communications
Unitrans Volkswagen re-affirmed its commitment in the fight against rhino poaching with the signing of a new sponsorship agreement with the South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers at SANParks Head Office in Pretoria today.
South Africa is home to approximately 22 000 white and black rhinoceros of which more than 10 000 are found in the Kruger National Park. This represents around 70% of the world’s total rhino population. The South African population is one of the last viable rhino populations in the world, which makes its survival crucial.
The Unite Against Poaching initiative has contributed almost R7 million to the SANParks’ counter poaching effort over the past three years.
“As the SANParks Honorary Rangers we are very excited about the continued relationship with Unitrans. It is partnerships of this nature that allows us to provide the desperately needed support in terms of training and equipment to the counter poaching teams who are in the bush at this very moment. Unitrans Volkswagen has shown the true commitment of a patriotic company which is dedicated to look after one of our country’s most iconic animals and a valuable conservation resource” says Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of the National Executive Committee, SANParks Honorary Rangers.
Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen, Kevin Gillmer confirmed the sustained commitment to ensuring that the field rangers on the ground have the skills and equipment to allow them to continue their fight against Rhino poaching. “Unitrans Volkswagen, through the Unite against Poaching fund are honoured to have been able to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching, within South African National Parks (SANParks). Together with the SANParks Honorary Rangers we will continue to empower the dedicated field rangers in the protection of our rhinos.”
SANParks has called on corporates and individuals for extra support for the Honorary Rangers' counter poaching effort in order to assist its rangers in the field. The partnership with Unitrans Volkswagen is a great example of what can be done. Through the sale of vehicles by the ten Unitrans Volkswagen dealerships across the country, the company is able to sustain its support and make a major contribution in the counter poaching war.
SANParks Acting CEO, Abe Sibiya acknowledged and appreciated the re-affirmation of the partnership with Unitrans. “Unitrans Volkswagen is setting a good example of what other corporate citizens should be doing in securing the future of parks. We are truly indebted for Unitrans’ generosity and putting their money where their mouth is. Thanks again to Unitrans VW”.
“The time is now for everyone to Unite Against Poaching and help ensure this precious heritage for our children’s children,” concluded Sibiya. For more information visit www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za
(From left to right) Glenn Phillips, SANParks Managing Executive: Tourism Development and Marketing; Kevin Gillmer, Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen and Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of the National Executive Committee, SANParks Honorary Rangers at the signing of the new sponsorship agreement.