Heavy sentences for convicted rhino poachers

Four men have been sentenced to a collective 90 years in prison in the Zeerust Regional Court for their roles in a rhino poaching incident in the North West province.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Pelonomi Makau, said the men had been arrested for their involvement in the poaching of a rhino in the Madikwe Game Reserve in March last year.

Makau said police had responded to the incident, and the men had abandoned their vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Police recovered a rifle, knives as well as two rhino horns from the vehicle.

"Following a thorough and responsive investigation, the men were arrested by Provincial Stock Theft Unit, together with National Intervention Unit in Winterveldt near Soshanguve," Makau said.

The men, Johannes Mthopa, Monda Ndlovu, Patrick Khoza and Samuel Masive were found guilty of poaching and were sentenced on Thursday.

Mthopa, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, Ndlovu to 20 years while Khoza and Masive were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment each.

The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, welcomed the sentencing and commended all role players for their hard work.

Motswenyane said the sentence sent a clear message that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that those who committed crime, including poachers, would be dealt with accordingly.

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