The Skukuza Regional Court has handed down a stiff sentence to a 34- year-old man from Mozambique who was recently convicted of several poaching related crimes including the illegal hunting and killing of rhino.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said that Solly Ndima had pleaded guilty to several offences. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

He was also subsequently convicted of tresspassing in the Skukuza National Park, of contravening the Immigration Act, of possession of a prohibited obliterated firearm (the serial number had been removed), possession of ammunition, illegal hunting and killing of rhino. Ndima was also found in possession of an axe. 

“Ndima, together with his accomplice Lucky Sibuyi were arrested in September 2014 around Lower Sabie section by the rangers,” Nyuswa said.

Sibuyi pleaded not guilty and as a result the state applied for a separation of the trial. Sibuyi’s matter has been set down to be heard in court on 25 May 2021.

State prosecutor, Abednigo Mgiba, in arguing before the court for a suitable sentence, highlighted the impact of rhino poaching on the environment. He said poaching affected the environment by depleting certain species of animals, which can cause animals that are endangered to become extinct, arguing for a suitable sentence. 

Magistrate, MJ Ngobeni sentenced Ndima to three years imprisonment for trespassing, one year for contravening the Immigration Act, five years for possession of a prohibited obliterated firearm, three years for possession of ammunition, 12 years for illegal hunting and killing of a rhino and another year for possession of an axe. 

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. 

The NPA welcomed the conviction and sentence. 

According to the World Wildlife Fund “the greatest threat facing African rhinos is poaching for the illegal trade in their horns, which has soared in recent years. But the current surge has been primarily driven by demand for horn in Vietnam. As well as its use in medicine, rhino horn is bought and consumed purely as a symbol of wealth.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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