Nelspruit - Mpumalanga Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC, Mr Norman Mokoena says the latest 29 years jail term given two men for rhino poaching should be a lesson to others that “they can run, but cannot hide from the might of the law.”
The duo, Geasson Corsa (35) and Ali Nkuna (25) were sentenced to 29 years in jail for trespassing, being in possession of hunting rifles and ammunition, and poaching a rhino and its calf by the Nelspruit Magistrates court on Friday, 31 August 2012.
‘’We congratulate our multi-facet law enforcement agencies for continuing to heed our call to do everthing in their power, to protect our endangered rhino species from such greedy people. I hope that this will serve as a deterrent to others with the same motive,” said MEC Mokoena.
Magistrate Catherine Hugo said the sentence should be a deterrent to other would be rhino poachers, and the message government is sending is a clear one – that those who continue to poach rhinos illegally will be prosecuted and if found guilty, would be convicted by courts of law.
“We are encouraged as government, about the increasing successful convictions of these ruthless people. We will thus continue to involve every key stakeholder in our quest to fight rhino poaching. Nothing will stop us from rooting out this unbecoming behaviour which is driven by greed and desire for quick enrichment at the expense of future generations,” added the MEC.
Just on 16 August 2012, two other rhino poachers were convicted by the magistrate court in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, and sentenced to 18 years and 10 years respectively.
A total of 47 and 42 rhino poachers have been arrested in Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park respectively, since the beginning of the year.
“I’m confident that all of these people will be successfully convicted and go to jail for a very long time. This is what they deserve for being cruel to this endangered species,” concluded MEC Mokoena.
The Department urges South Africans to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip–offs that could lead to the arrest of and prevention of illegal poaching to 0800 205 005.