Ballistic report sounds raider’s cap in court


A man who has consistently maintained his innocence after being charged with poaching-related offenses has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after ballistics tests linked the firearm found in his possession to rhino poaching.

The Skukuza Regional Court sentenced Lindelani Lucky Mdletshe (37) to 12 years’ immediate imprisonment.

He was found guilty of entering the Kruger National Park, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of unlicensed firearms, says Monica Nyuswa, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Rangers were following footprints in the Pretoriuskop area of ​​the wildlife park in April 2019, when they came across Mdletshe, Rhody Hlamalani Ndlovu (a Mozambican) and another man who had got away.

Mdletshe and Ndlovu were arrested and firearms were found with them. In the subsequent court case they were granted bail and Mdletshe disappeared, but was re-arrested after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Ndlovu was found guilty and sentenced and the state successfully applied for the cases to be separated.

Mdletshe has consistently maintained that he is innocent.

Public prosecutor Lot Mgiba led the testimony of one of the rangers, as well as presenting the results of the ballistic tests on the firearm to the court. This test confirmed that the .375 hunting rifle found on him was used to poach rhinos.

The court found him guilty, sentenced him to 12 years in prison and declared him incompetent to possess a firearm, says Nyuswa.

The NPA welcomed the sentence.