The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the sentencing of a 40-year-old man for poaching. Brain Phiri was sentenced on Tuesday, 22 March 2022, by the Skukuza Regional Court.
The court sentenced the accused after hearing that on 14 June 2021, Field Rangers, who were on duty at Lower Sabi inside the Kruger National Park, noticed suspicious activity alerting the rangers about possible intruders who entered the park without permission.
It was also established by the rangers that the intruders gained entry through Sekelbospan area. The rangers then followed up on the tracks with the help of a tracker dog. They then managed to track down the suspects however, one of the suspects fled and he is still at large meanwhile one suspect was apprehended.
The accused was reportedly found in possession of a hunting rifle with its serial numbers filed off, seven Win Mag cartridges of a .458 rifle, two backpacks as well as an axe.
The police at Skukuza were informed about the incident and upon their arrival the man was arrested as well as charged accordingly. Police investigation also revealed that the accused was from Mozambique and was in the country illegally.
On 22 March 2022, the case was finalised in the said court whereby the accused was convicted and sentenced as follows:
For trespassing, the accused was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and for contravention of the Immigration Act, the accused was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment. Meanwhile on the count of possession of a prohibited firearm, the accused was slapped with 7 years’ imprisonment. On a count of possession of unlicensed ammunition, the accused got a sentence of 2 years imprisonment whilst on a count of possession of dangerous weapon, the accused was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment.
The court ordered that all other counts run concurrently with the count of possession of a prohibited firearm. The accused will therefore be incarcerated for an effective 7 years.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela further appreciated the collaborative efforts which produced desired results. “We applaud the good work done by various stakeholders, including the field rangers, the investigators, the Prosecution Team as well as the Judiciary,” said the General.