Hendric Mangane, 59; Shangani Mathebula, 26; and Emmanuel Mdluli; 33 are facing a combined 105 years in prison for rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park.
Police have reported that the men were caught armed, shooting at rhinos and were in possession of horns.
According to News24, the three poachers were were arrested by park rangers after gunshots were heard. Police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said that the rangers responded after these reports, with the assistance of a tracker dog.
“Whilst drawing closer, the rangers saw the poachers shooting two rhinoceroses. They immediately summoned a SANParks helicopter for support and the trio were then apprehended. The men were in possession of a rifle, with the serial number filed off, as well as ammunition. The trio were also found with rhino horns which were stashed in backpacks,” said Colonel Donald Mdhluli on Saturday.
Following arrest, the docket was assigned to the Skukuza Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit for investigation
Following a trial, the men were convicted of trespassing, rhino poaching and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Meanwhile, one of the men faced the additional charge of contravention of the Immigration Act. Mathebula is a Mozambican national and was in the country illegally.
Mangane was sentenced to 45 years, while Mathebula and Mdluli received 30 years each. The men were sentenced on Friday.