20 years in prison for Kruger National Park poacher

Henry

The Skukuza Regional Court jailed Terrence Patrick Makhubela for a total of 20 years for poaching-related offences.

Makhubela pleaded guilty to charges of trespassing in the Kruger National Park, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm to commit a crime and illegal possession of ammunition.

Monica Nyuswa, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), says the court also declared him incompetent to own a firearm.

The sentence stems from an incident on 3 December 2014 in the Pretoriuskop area of ​​the game park where game wardens on patrol suspected that there were poachers in the area. They arrested Makhubela while her three accomplices escaped. Several bullets were found in his possession.

A further search yielded a hunting rifle and ammunition, as well as a bag containing the horn of a recently slaughtered rhinoceros as well as an axe.

“Near these pieces of evidence, they also discovered a fresh rhinoceros carcass,” says Nyuswa.

Makhubela was released on bail in the subsequent court case, but disappeared before the trial could be concluded. He was subsequently re-arrested and pleaded not guilty.

In the court case, state prosecutor Lot Mgiba led the testimony of rangers, as well as presenting the results of the ballistic tests on the firearm to the court. This test confirmed that the hunting rifle found at Makhubela was used to shoot the rhino.

Nyuswa says DNA evidence submitted to the court also positively linked the horn found in Makhubela’s possession to the rhino carcass.

“The NPA remains committed to prosecuting poaching-related crimes to stem the tide of rhino poaching.”

RNews earlier reported that a 37-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years in the Skukuza Regional Court this month after he was caught and arrested in the Pretoriuskop area in April 2019.