Poaching: No bail for Kruger Park staff

2012-07-12 21:44

Pretoria - Four Kruger National Park employees accused of being part of a rhino poaching ring were denied bail by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Judge Andre Louw dismissed the appeal by Duncan Mnisi, Tiyene Mabunda, Charles Mabunda and Doctor Mgwenyama against a previous decision by the White River Magistrate's Court to deny them bail.

Louw found that it would not be in the interest of justice to release them.

He said a petition with more than 1 000 signatures handed to the court in opposition of bail showed the extent of the public's outrage about rhino poaching.

The four were charged with malicious damage to property, theft and the illegal possession of an R1 rifle and ammunition, but the State said more charges were being investigated.

The charges relate to the illegal hunting of two white rhino bulls in the Pretoriuskop area of the Kruger National Park in February.

The four were arrested after tourists discovered the dehorned carcasses.

Mnisi and the two Mabundas were employed as tour and field guides, or rangers, while Mgwenyama worked as a traffic official in the park.

All four were suspended without pay.

Louw said the State had a strong case against the men, who faced long terms of imprisonment if they were convicted.

He said it could not be excluded that State witnesses, including gate guards, could be intimidated if the men were released on bail.

The crime had engendered a feeling of shock, and the public's trust in the justice system had to be taken into account.

Senior SA National Parks investigator Frik Rossouw said in an affidavit that Mnisi and the Mabundas were all implicated in the crime by their warning statements, which also implicated Mgwenyama.

An ammunition box, which was stained with blood which had been positively linked to that of a male white rhino, was found in Mgwenyama's private vehicle.

Mnisi was found in possession of R30 000 in cash.

They four did not act alone, but were involved with several other syndicate members, Rossouw said.

He said the men had killed the rhino for financial and personal gain rather than subsistence, as no meat had been cut from the carcasses.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-07-12 21:58

    It is a crying shame that these men who have been given the great responsibility of looking after the rhinos have turned into the very thing they should be fighting. They don't deserve any mercy or compassion, as they have shown none.

  • delish7564 - 2012-07-12 22:18

    B-*$&rds, that's the only word to describe them. If found guilty the same thing should be done to them as was done to the rhino, making it as painful as possible, just enough to keep them alive to serve as a warning to anyone else thinking of doing the same thing!

  • Rowan Cranston - 2012-07-12 22:26

    Lock them up and throw away the key

  • James Koen - 2012-07-12 22:54

    An eye for an eye.. Cut their horns off, bastards..

  • anton.faber.3 - 2012-07-13 01:01

    Sure. Release them on bail. Then let us have their addresses...

  • digger.dighead - 2012-07-13 02:52

    Well done on this one goverment.....let's see if we can stop ourselves going the Zim way. Keep it up.

      garreth.rosenberg - 2012-07-15 18:26

      Won't be surprised if Government is also involved in poaching. Its money talking. hallo!!!

  • Arthur Salvado - 2012-07-13 06:04

    Welcome to ZIM2 the sequel. Pity

  • don.quioxte.3 - 2012-07-13 08:38

    Thank you Judge Louw. Now we need a really serious sentence.

  • olivia.duplessis.1 - 2012-07-13 10:57

    These men don't care. If you get a salary of R4000 and offered R20 000 or whatever they will do the poaching. Look at salary changes, mindseets etc. The same is happening in Namibia with the seal cull scheduled for this Sunday. Pups being slaughtered for fur 85000+. Humans are sick.

  • erna.moller.7 - 2012-07-13 12:42

    Excellent, let this be a warning to the poachers! Thank you to all of those who signed the petition and coming to court.

  • roy.hart.54 - 2012-07-14 13:50

    But this is so great,set a example keep them in jail,rot!Bastards !No mercy ever,can we brand them to for life!

  • Michael - 2012-07-14 15:03

    Trade regulation would snuff this out in an instant..but ultimately the idiots who use rhino horn should hurry up and die....the education needs to change at user level.

  • hcerasmus - 2012-07-14 16:31

    Just throw them in jail and forget about them ...

  • sabine.gammel - 2012-07-18 15:30

    These four men are only a small link in a chain. Who will ask for the organisers?????

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