Rhino poacher sentenced to 25 years, Skukuza

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has once again appreciated the court for doing their best to deter people from illegal hunting by imposing tougher sentences upon poachers.

This gesture by the General comes in a wake of a hefty sentence that was handed down on Friday, 18 March 2022 by the Skukuza Regional Court to Mike Nyathi, aged 40 for poaching.

The court sentenced the accused after hearing how he was caught twice poaching inside the Kruger National Park.

It is said that in the first incident, Nyathi and Janeiro Chunguane entered the Kingfisherspruit Section (inside Kruger National Park) on 17 September 2017 and began hunting illegally, where they shot and killed a white rhinoceros.

Field Rangers working at the said section fortunately heard a sound of gunshots and became aware that there were intruders inside the park. The rangers then went out to investigate what was happening and they found the two men who were in possession of one rifle (a .458 Win Mag Zastava bolt action) without serial numbers, ten .458 Win Mag cartridges, an axe as well as a knife.

The rangers further found a carcass of a white rhinoceros that was killed next to where the two men were found. The men were apprehended by the rangers.

Police at Skukuza were then informed about the incident and the two were arrested and charged for trespassing, possession of prohibited firearm, unlicensed firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to commit a crime, hunting of protected animals in a National Park, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

The men appeared in the said court where they were both granted bail. Thereafter Chunguane fled to Mozambique and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Police are still looking for him and he is yet to be re-arrested.

Whilst on 13 May 2019 Nyathi got involved into the second incident of poaching whereby, he entered the Satara Section at Kruger National Park.

It is said that the rangers became aware and, with the assistance of a tracker dog they tracked the suspect who happened to be Nyathi. He was found by the rangers hiding under a big fallen tree. Once again police at Skukuza were informed and during his arrest, the field rangers recovered a .458 Win Mag CZ 550 bolt action rifle without serial numbers, two .458 Win Mag cartriges. The accused was identified as Mike Nyathi.

He was then charged and appeared before the said court where he was never granted bail until his cases were finalised. The accused was convicted and sentenced in relation to the two incidents to an effective 25 years imprisonment. The accused was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Meanwhile the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela further thanked everyone that contributed in the said cases which led to the incredible conviction and ultimate sentence. “We commend the team of field rangers, the investigation team, the Prosecution Team as well as the Judiciary for the job well done. We hope that others who might think of poaching will be deterred by this sentence” said the General.

»Rhino poacher sentenced to 25 years, Skukuza«

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