The South African National Parks (SANParks) today, 3 September 2021 welcomed the sentencing of three rhino poachers to a total of 105 years in prison for rhino poaching and other offences by the Skukuza Regional Court prosecuting team on 2 September 2021. The three poachers were arrested in 2017 after killing three rhinos in Marula (southern) section of the Kruger National Park. Two of the convicted poachers – Accused 2 and 3, Shangani Mathebula and Emmanuel Mdhluli are from Mozambique; while Accused 1 – Walter Hendrik Mangane is South African.
Whist handing out the sentences, the magistrate explained in detail the manner in which the three poachers killed three rhinos in execution style and were caught red handed whilst in the process of plundering the animals. She asked Accused 1 to mend his ways as he had multiple cases which happened over 10 years ago in the KNP, was the oldest of the three at 58 of age; but had a negative influence on the communities and the youth as the other two accused are 29 and 32 years old.
Reacting to the sentences the Managing Executive of the KNP, Gareth Coleman congratulated the Environmental Crime Investigative Unit and Ranger Services for working closely with the Investigating Officer and the other South African Police Service Units to bring solid evidence before the court. He commended the Prosecuting Team for a stellar job in arguing for a stiff sentence and thanked the Rangers, Air Services and K9 Units for their swift reaction in apprehending the accused and ensuring that justice is served. “These sentences should serve as a deterrent to those intending to come and kill our natural heritage and destroying the livelihoods of our people. We have in the past few months intensified our security efforts in the Park to good effect but successful convictions requires that the prosecutorial and justice pillars in our society are operating effectively. These sentences will motivate the teams who work tirelessly day and night to protect our fauna and flora.” concluded Coleman.