South African National Parks (SANParks) today welcomed the sentencing of two field rangers, Hendric Eccelence Silinda and Achieve Musa Mlambo, by the Skukuza Regional Court to an effective seven years in prison.
The duo were based in the Skukuza section of the Kruger National Park (KNP). They were arrested in February 2019 for possession of an unlicensed firearm and other related poaching items found in the base camp they were staying in during anti-poaching operations.
The employer dismissed them at the time, but they were later re-instated due to procedural issues; they had been working as general workers until the trial was finalised. Silinda and Mlambo were both found guilty on charges as follows:
- Count 1: Possession of unlicensed firearm – five years
- Count 2: Possession of a prohibited firearm – six years
- Count 3: Possession of unlicensed ammunition – two years
- Count 4: Possession of a dangerous weapon – one year
- The court ordered that the sentences in count 1 and 3 run concurrently with the sentence in count 2.
The Acting Managing Executive of the KNP, Dr Danny Govender said “we are happy with the sentence as it demonstrates that our criminal courts are working well. This has been a long road and our colleagues should be aware of our zero tolerance to corruption.”