National Park

3 rhino poachers caught in Kruger National Park jailed after pleading guilty

Three rhino poachers in Mpumalanga have been sentenced to prison by the Skukuza Regional Court after pleading guilty.

PHOTO: Michele D’ottavio, EyeEm, Getty Images

  • Three rhino poachers from Mpumalanga have received heavy sentences.
  • They were convicted before the forensic results were known.
  • The men decided to plead guilty.

SAPS Provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, welcomed the decision to convict three poachers, even before forensic results were available.

Sibusiso Mahlaule, 29; Georges Manyise, 30; and Rodrigues Ngobeni, 34, were sentenced on Friday by the Skukuza Regional Court for poaching.

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Police spokesman Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the men were brought to trial as the investigation was ongoing and detectives were still awaiting forensic results.

“They decided to plead guilty. The court accepted their plea, but they were not exempted from punishment,” Mohlala said.

They were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for trespassing and five years for conspiracy to commit a felony.

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Meanwhile, Ngobeni was sentenced to an additional eight years for violating the immigration law.

Their sentences stem from an incident in which they were surprised by Kruger National Park rangers on April 18, 2021.

The rangers, working at the Pretoriuskop section (inside the Kruger National Park), discovered something sinister that aroused their suspicions.


The rangers then went on the lookout and followed a few leads with the help of tracking dogs, as well as a helicopter belonging to SANParks.

Rangers spotted the three men, cornered them, and apprehended them.

A .375 H&H bolt-action rifle with an integrated silencer, along with three .375 H&H cartridges, were found in their possession.

Skukuza police were notified and the three suspects were arrested and charged.

“An immigration violation charge was added against Rodrigues Ngobeni after police established that he was from the country of Mozambique and was illegally in South Africa. been handed over to the experts in the field at SAPS’ stock flight unit in Skukuza,” Mohlala added.

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