The department of environmental affairs on Friday welcomed the sentences handed down to three poachers from the notorious Ndlovu gang members who were sentenced to an effective 25 years imprisonment each by the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda earlier this week.
Jabulani Ndlovu, 40; Forget Ndlovu, 37; and Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, 38, were sentenced on Wednesday for 13 rhino poaching incidents in which 22 rhino were killed in the Eastern Cape over a period of five years.
The three men were arrested at the Makana Resort outside Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown, in June 2016. The men were charged with 55 counts related to 13 rhino poaching incidents near Makhanda, Jansenville, Graaff-Reinet, and Cradock, as well as theft, contravening environmental laws and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
The men were found in possession of a rhino horn, tranquiliser, a dart gun, a saw, and a knife when they were arrested in 2016. They had also been linked to poaching in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
The department said the sentence sent a strong message to would-be poachers and poaching gangs that the South African government was taking all the necessary and correct steps to ensure rhinos were protected.
Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said: “The Integrated Strategic Management Approach is among the instruments being implemented through a collaborative approach between the departments of environmental affairs, justice, police, and defence, among others, to combat rhino poaching. It is an approach that is now being implemented in all provinces where rhino poaching has increased in recent years and is delivering the required results.
“This approach is constantly being reviewed, amended, and updated to meet changing needs as poachers amend their modus operandi in an effort to escape capture. We are elated that the arrest of this gang, in particular, has yielded the outcome we wanted.”
– African News Agency