Ex-rangers in court for rhino poaching

2013-08-14 07:21
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Three former SA National Parks (SANParks) employees, a provincial traffic officer and a former traffic official, all accused of rhino poaching, appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday.

Former SANParks field ranger Tiyani Mabunda, 25, and former field guides Charles Mabunda, 29, and Duncan Mnisi, 34, appeared alongside provincial traffic officer Ellaraine Jennifer Brown, 28, and former traffic official Doctor Ngwenyama, 33.

On Tuesday, the court rejected an application to strike the rhino poaching charges against the five from the court roll, following a request by defence lawyer Erwin Sithole.

The defence, which applied on 6 August for the State to provide them with documents and affidavits signed by a commissioner of oaths, said the State had responded to their request.

However, the copies received were not properly completed, and some were unsigned.

Magistrate Andre Geldenhuys advised the defence to put together another application for proper documentation by 30 September.

"The State will be allowed to respond by November 18, and if not done we will place the matter to stand in court for the state and defence to discuss further," he said.

Geldenhuys said if all went well the trial would begin on 2 December.

Ngwenyama, Mnisi and the two Mabundas were arrested in February 2012 after two white rhino carcasses were discovered in the Pretoriuskop section of the Kruger National Park.

Brown, who is married to Ngwenyama, was arrested in May this year, after she was suspected of having transported a rhino horn out of the park.

She first appeared in the White River Magistrate's Court last June, and was released on R5 000 bail.

The case was transferred to the Nelspruit Regional Court so it could be combined with her husband's and the three other men.

All the accused are out on bail.

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