The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has welcomed the lengthy sentences handed down to rhino poachers and the arrest of five more people for the unlawful possession of ivory.
“The sentences handed down by the Lephalale Regional Court and the swift actions of the North West police in arresting another five people trying to sell ivory in Rustenburg, is to be commended. These actions are further proof that the Integrated Strategic Management Approach, adopted by Government to combat rhino poaching and which is now also being applied to addressing wildlife crimes such as ivory smuggling, is bearing fruit,” said Molewa.
Two rhino poachers, Kenny Mthethi, 35, and Sam None, 34, were each sentenced to 58 years imprisonment on several charges in the Lephalale Regional Court. This included hunting protected species, theft, trespassing and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
The accused had been found in possession of two rhino horns, a hunting rifle and four rounds of ammunition following a joint operation by police and local farmers.
In a separate matter, North West police arrested five people in Lefaragatlha near Rustenburg after receiving a tip-off from the public about the alleged illegal sale of ivory.
“The two cases in which the public were involved should serve as an example to all that working together more can be achieved,” said Dr Molewa.