Tebogo Msimanga |
The Mogwase Regional Court sentenced Arlendo Mhlanga, Adam Hlongwane and Inancio Chauke to 35 years in prison for charges related to rhino poaching at the Pilansberg Game Reserve in the North West.
The three, who are from Mozambique, were arrested on 02 July 2018 trying to leave the game reserve in a white Ford bakkie loaded with stolen rhino horns valued at R1,5 million.
North West National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Spokesperson Henry Mamothame said after their arrest, they applied for bail and it was denied. “They remained in police custody until the completion of the trial.”
Mhlanga and his co-accused were charged on three counts of illegally killing three female rhinos, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of ammunition, possession of six rhino horns, chopping six rhino horns from three rhino carcasses, intentionally and unlawfully conveying six rhino horns, theft of three rhino horns and also charged for entering the heritage site without written permission.
Mamothame said the court also declared them unfit to possess firearms. The Ford bakkie and other items that were in their possession are also forfeited to the state.
Advocate Douw Jacobs argued that rhino pouching impacts the tourism industry negatively and the economy of the country as it results in job losses.