Three KZN rhino poachers convicted after 10-year trial

2019-03-26 21:55


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Three rhino poachers are behind bars awaiting their sentencing after a Durban magistrate convicted them at the end of a 10-year trial.

Magistrate Logan Naidoo in the Durban Magistrate's Court found Muntugokwakhe Khoza, 50, Ayanda Buthelezi, 40, and SANDF officer Mduduzi Xulu, 51, guilty on Monday.

According to Daily Maverick, Naidoo noted that Khoza and three accomplices were arrested just hours after the crime. Police and conservation officers intercepted them at a roadblock in a pick-up truck carrying a .303 rifle, two axes covered in blood and rhino horn.

DNA evidence later linked the severed horn, which included bone and tissue carved from a rhino skull, to the carcass of the poached animal.

READ: 'Blood on their hands'

News24 reported in 2009 that the men were caught "red-handed" with blood dripping from their clothing and in possession of two freshly hacked off white rhino horns in their bakkie just outside Imfolozi Game Reserve on August 26, 2009.

The following month, they were granted bail of R10 000 each, despite opposition from wildlife investigators.

During their bail application, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) investigator Rod Potter testified that there was an alarming increase in rhino poaching in 2008 and 2009 - both in KwaZulu-Natal and countrywide.

He said in 2008 alone, 80 rhinos were hunted illegally in South Africa and in 2009, the figure had risen to 85.

Potter said the increase in rhino poaching in KwaZulu-Natal was a concern because private game reserves were reluctant to stock rhino because of the threat by poachers, affecting plans to expand rhino populations.

He added that EKZNW usually disposed of "excess" rhinos on auction to the private sector, but owners didn't want to spend money on animals that are at risk of being poached. On average, a rhino would fetch R202 000 in 2009.

He said the poaching of rhino would impact on local and international tourism.

Khoza also served time for another case of poaching TimesLive reported.

Read more on:    poaching

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.