Three poachers from the notorious Ndlovu Gang were each sentenced to an effective 25 years behind bars by the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown, on Wednesday.
The trio were earlier found guilty of the poaching of 13 rhinos between 2013 and 2016.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Sbongile Soci, said no incidents of darting rhino had been reported since the arrest of the poaching gang’s members.
Soci said Jabulani Ndlovu, 40, Forget Ndlovu, 37, and Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, 38, were found guilty on all 55 separate counts relating to the poaching and harvesting of the horns.
Police made a major breakthrough in curbing rhino poaching when they arrested the trio in June 2016 at Makana Resort.
The three men were caught red-handed in a chalet with a 10.27kg of freshly harvested rhino horn valued at R1 million‚ a bloody saw‚ a dart gun and M99 tranquilising drug, as well as cellphones and SIM cards.
The arrest was the direct result of Operation Full Moon, which mainly focused on curbing rhino poaching incidents in the Eastern Cape.
Soci said the trio were were linked to poaching incidents in the Eastern Cape, as well as Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga congratulated the team on a meticulous and professional investigation by the SAPS and NPA, which led to the lengthy prison terms.
“The sentence is the outcome of the SAPS’s unwavering commitment in the fight against wildlife crimes which are interlinked to organized crime. The diligence of the investigators and other specialized disciplines of the SAPS together with the NPA did not go unnoticed in this landmark case,” she said.
– African News Agency (ANA)