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MBOMBELA – Simon Ngubane will effectively serve 33 years for rhino poaching and related activities committed in the Kruger National Park in 2011. This was confirmed in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Wednesday.

Nelspruit magistrate's court
Simon Ngubane was sentenced in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court

Earlier this month, Ngubane was found guilty of trespassing into the Kruger National Park, two counts of the illegal hunting of a rhinoceros, two counts of theft of a rhino horn and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Senior state advocate, Ms Isabet Erwee, referred to the circumstances under which he was caught on December 11, 2011.

Lowvelder previously reported that game rangers patrolling the Tshokwane area came across three suspect individuals. After having poached a rhino, the accused had come across two more rhino horns and took them into their possession. Rangers chased them and one of the men turned around, pulled out his firearm, and shot at the rangers. A shoot-out ensued and Ngubane was injured. The other two suspects escaped.

“These were crimes of greed,” Erwee said in court. “Kingpins pay a lot and the business has become a fashionable one. Although many suspects are killed during contacts or end up losing limbs, the lure of money is stronger than the fear of death,” she stressed. According to Erwee, strict sentences should dissuade prospective poachers from partaking in these criminal activities.

The magistrate, Mr André Geldenhuys, passed a combined sentence of 28 years against Ngubane. He took into account the five years Ngubane had served while in custody and mentioned that his total sentence would effectively amount to 33 years.

Ndumu River Lodge
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