Limpopo illegal hunters fined R37,000

Rhinos. Image courtesy stock.xchnge

Eleven men were fined a total of R37,000 by the Makhado Magistrate’s Court on Monday for hunting illegally on a farm in Limpopo, SA National Parks (SANParks) said.

They each paid admission of guilt fines ranging from R1500 to R4500, depending on which animal they hunted, spokesman Ike Phaahla said in a statement.

All 11 had been charged for illegally hunting on Den Staat farm near Musina, Limpopo. The farm is part of an open system with the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site.

One of the hunters would appear in court again on March 7, alongside SANParks employee Michael Sematla, who was implicated in a number of illegal commercial hunting activities on the farm in January.

“The prosecution of the hunters and the SANParks employee follows months of investigations after a giraffe carcass was found with three bullet shots in the park,” Phaahla said.

In the North West, tourism MEC Motlalepula Rosho welcomed the sentencing of a poacher. Hans Skhosana was sentenced to seven years in jail for illegal hunting by the Lehurutshe Magistrate’s Court.

He was sentenced to 10 years for illegal hunting with five years wholly suspended, five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm and two years for illegal possession ammunition, department spokeswoman Dumisa Seshabela said in a statement.

Skhosana and his co-accused Collen Buthelezi were arrested in 2012 at the Botsalano game reserve near Mahikeng. Park rangers found them with a 375 rifle and silencer, ammunition, an axe, hunting knifes, and a knife sharpener, Seshabela said.

Skhosana pleaded guilty to the charges while Buthelezi pleaded not guilty and opted to stand trial. He would stand trial on March 26 to give him an opportunity to seek state legal representation.

Rosho vowed to bring perpetrators to book and to protect the rhinos in the province.

“Government is in the process of reviewing strategy to strengthen interventions to curb poaching of rhinos. By this we will be in a position to reduce illegal poaching as this affects our province’s tourism sector,” Rosho said.


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