Poacher gets 17-year jail sentence

Constitutional court ends support program for serving justices
March 15, 2024
Man sentenced to 12 years for attempted murder
March 15, 2024
Constitutional court ends support program for serving justices
March 15, 2024
Man sentenced to 12 years for attempted murder
March 15, 2024

Poacher gets 17-year jail sentence

In a significant victory against rhino poaching, Mbongeni Ngobeni has been handed a hefty
17-year jail sentence by the Skukuza Regional Court for his involvement in the killing of a
rhinoceros in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2016.

The court heard that on June 21, 2016, Ngobeni was arrested by field rangers who
responded to gunshots in the Pretoriuskop Section of the KNP. The rangers discovered a
freshly killed rhino carcass and, with the assistance of the K9 Unit, apprehended Ngobeni in
possession of a high-caliber hunting rifle. Two of his accomplices managed to evade arrest.

Ngobeni was initially granted bail on March 9, 2019, but failed to appear for his trial,
prompting the court to issue a warrant for his arrest. He was eventually apprehended on
December 22, 2023, after authorities received information about his whereabouts.

On March 14, 2024, Ngobeni was convicted on six charges related to rhino poaching and
sentenced as follows:

  1. Ten years’ imprisonment for hunting a rhinoceros in a national park.
  2. Five years’ imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm.
  3. Two years’ imprisonment for trespassing in a national park.
  4. Four years’ imprisonment for possession of a firearm with the intent to commit a crime.
  5. Four years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit a crime (to run concurrently with count
    1).
  6. Two years’ imprisonment for possession of unlicensed ammunition.
  7. One year’s imprisonment for possession of a dangerous weapon.

The court ordered that the sentences for counts 4, 6, and 7 should run concurrently, resulting
in an effective 17-year jail sentence. Ngobeni was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

South African National Parks (SANParks) welcomed the heavy sentence, emphasizing their
commitment to combating rhino poaching in the country’s national parks.

In a related development, the much-awaited trial of former KNP Regional Ranger, Rodney
Landela, and his co-accused, former State Veterinary employee, Kenneth Muchocho, is set
to commence on March 18, 2024, after the Magistrate indicated that there would be no
further postponements.

The stringent sentence handed down to Ngobeni serves as a strong deterrent to those
involved in the illegal trade of rhino horns and underscores the authorities’ determination to
protect South Africa’s endangered rhinoceros population.