The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed a well-deserving sentence imposed on a poacher by the name of Lucky Mabunda (43). The accused was sentenced by the Skukuza Regional Court on Thursday, 28 September 2023 during the time he was serving another sentence of 18 years’ at the Correctional Centre, a sentence imposed upon him back in September 2019.
On 25 February 2019 Mabunda together with two of his accomplices entered the Kruger National Park. On that day, Field Rangers came across human footprints and then realized that there were possibly people who have entered the Park illegally. The Rangers began to trace these individuals and it was not long before they found the accused together with Albazino Mandlanzi (41) and Vasco Nazovela (39). The three were caught in possession of unlicenced firearm (hunting rifle) with ammunition. As a norm in the Police, whenever firearms are confiscated from suspects, ballistic testing are conducted to determine whether the weapons were used in the commission of crime elsewhere. This incident too, was not an exception. A rhinoceros was also found shot and killed at Malelane Section of the Kruger National Park.
The accused was charged accordingly and taken to court where he pleaded guilty. In September 2019, Mabunda was sentenced to an effective 18 years imprisonment which was handed down as follows:
One year imprisonment for trespassing in the National Park, 15 years’ imprisonment for possession of prohibited firearm (as the firearm had no serial numbers). He was further sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for unlawful possession of ammunition. The sentences were not running concurrently.
Meanwhile his two accomplices, Albazino Mandlanzi (41) and Vasco Nazovela (39) were convicted then sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment each with an option of a fine (which they both opted for) to a total of R30 000 each for similar counts faced by Mabunda who previously had similar convictions before, unlike his counterparts.
Whilst he was serving his 18-year sentence, ballistic results came back from the laboratory, pointing out to Mabunda as the one who used a hunting rifle (which was seized in February 2019) to kill the rhinoceros, the carcass thereof found at Malelane Section.
As a result, Mabunda was requisitioned from the Correctional Centre and brought to court to face the music after being charged for the killing the rhinoceros. Mabunda again pleaded guilty on this charge hence he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has further thanked the SANPARKS team, including the Field Rangers, the Investigation team, the Prosecution team, and the Judiciary for their collaborative efforts which culminated into this enormous sentence.
Content retrieved from: https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroom/msspeechdetail.php?nid=48704.