Three members of the Ndlovu Gang, following a lengthy trial, have been sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment each for 13 rhino poaching incidents in which 22 rhino were killed in the Eastern Cape over a period of five years.
The sentence handed down by the Makhanda High Court in the Eastern Cape sends a strong message to would-be poachers and poaching gangs that the South African government is taking all the necessary and correct steps to ensure our rhino are protected, said the Department of Environmental Affairs in a statement on Friday, 5 April.
Jabulani Ndlovu, 40, Forget Ndlovu, 37, and Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, 38, were arrested at the Makana Resort outside Makhanda (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 sentences were ordered to run concurrently, meaning that the men would serve an effective 25 years in prison each.
Integrated Strategic Management Approach
"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,” said the minister, Nomvula Mokonyane.
“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.”