NELSPRUIT – The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has applauded various stakeholders, including SANPARKS officials, SAPS investigators, the Prosecution team and the Judiciary for their meaningful contributions in battling poaching. The sentiment by the General comes after a poacher by the name of Isaac Sihlangu (45) was sentenced to an effective 11 years imprisonment by the Skukuza Regional Court yesterday, Thursday 24 November 2022.
Sihlangu’s sentence follows his arrest in the Kruger Park in August in 2019 with his co-accused. It is said that field rangers were busy with their daily routine duties in Stolznek Section using a chopper when they spotted Sihlangu and his fellow. They were then apprehended and found in possession of a firearm, ammunition as well as hunting weapons. They were brought to court and Sihlangu was granted bail but did not show up in court for his trial. A warrant for his arrest was then issued and police were in pursuit for him where they managed to re-arrest him in February 2022 after information surfaced of his whereabouts. His co-accused on the other hand, pleaded guilty during October 2022 and was sentenced. The case against Sihlangu was postponed for trial. On Tuesday, 22 November 2022 the accused decided to plead guilty hence his sentence as follows:
For trespassing in a National Park (count 1), the accused was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and for conspiracy to commit a crime (count 2), the accused was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. Meanwhile for possession of unlicensed firearm (count 3), the accused was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and for possession of unlicensed ammunition (count 4), he was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment whilst for possession of dangerous weapon (count 5), he was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment. The court ordered that the sentence in count 4 and 5 run concurrently with the sentence in count 3. Hence he will spend the 11 years behind bars. The accused was further declared unfit to possess a firearm.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has further indicated that the sentence will hopefully serve as a deterrence to others who might consider emulating the actions of the accused.
Source: South African Police Service