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Ndlovu Gang rhino poachers handed 25 years behind bars by Grahamstown High court

Apr 3, 2019
Ndlovu Gang rhino poachers handed 25 years behind bars by Grahamstown High court

The Ndlovu Gang members were linked to 13 cases of rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape

Grahamstown - Three convicted rhino poachers were on Wednesday handed 25 years behind bars each by the Grahamstown High Court on Wednesday.

The three - Forget Ndlovu, aged 40; George Jabulani Ndlovu, aged 38, and Skhumbuzo Ndlovu, aged 37, were found guilty of rhino poaching by the Grahamstown High Court in March.

The court's public gallery is filled with stakeholders, who included people from nature conservation.

A huge media contigency was also present at the sentencing.

Speaking on the sentencing, Eastern Cape police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni, said that this was a landmark case in the Eastern Cape.

He also pointed out that there had not been cases of rhino poaching involving darting in the Eastern Cape since the arrest of the trio.

Ndlovu Gang rhino poachers arrested in Makana

The three men are members of the so-called Ndlovu Gang, which is believed to have been invloved in some 13 cases of rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape over a period of about five years.

Two members of the Ndlovu Gang are Zimbabwean nationals.

They were all arrested in June 2016, when they were caught red-handed at the Makana Resort, in Makhanda (formely  Grahamstown) with a freshly-harvested horn of a white rhino bull worth  an estimated R1.2 million.

They also apparently had a darting rifle and drugs used to dart animals, various darts, saws and knives, camping gear and rations, two rental cars, and a number of cellphones in their possession at the time of the arrest.

Through this evidence and other links, they were slapped with around 50 charges relating to rhino poaching - which they were found guilty on this year.

There was outrage when they were released on bail twice by the Hoedspruit Magistrate's Court and the Grahamstown High Court in 2017.

Senior state prosecutor, Buks Coetzee, said that the State was happy with the gulity verdict in March.

"We are elated because this is a combination of very long and hard hours of investigation by the police and preparation of the case. We had 10 different incidents of rhino poaching, planning for 3 years and apart from the last incident when they were arrested with the horn and other tools to carry on with the poaching," he said.

"On all the other nine matters, the state had only had circumstantial evidence that is of cellphone records showing that they were near the scenes where the rhinos were poached."

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