iSimangaliso smugglers fined R20?000

2012-09-24 00:00

ISIMANGALISO Wetland Park has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of two men caught trying to smuggle a haul of 69 crayfish and an octopus out of the world heritage site on May 6 this year.

Sixty-three of the crayfish, which are also known as East Coast rock lobsters, were undersized.

Frederic Nicolaas Barnard, of Richards Bay, and Cornelius Johannes Visagie, of Sasolburg, pleaded guilty to possessing the crayfish and octopus without a permit when they appeared before magistrate J.J. Badenhorst in Mtubatuba.

Each was sentenced to pay a fine of R20 000 (or 12 months’ imprisonment), plus an additional 12 months imprisonment suspended conditionally for five years in terms of a plea and sentence agreement.

They are also banned from entering the eastern shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park — including Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks — for a year from the date of their conviction.

Isimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis praised Ezemvelo conservation staff — “especially Chantal Dickson, who made the arrest, and iSimangaliso’s legal counsel, Kevin Pretorius, who assisted in ensuring a successful conviction”.

“This is a satisfying result against those who would plunder from within our world heritage site.”

Barnard and Visagie had caught the crayfish and octopus near Mission Rocks and tried to smuggle their haul out of iSimangaliso’s Bhangazi gate in the boot of their vehicle.

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