Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sentence in iMfolozi firearm case

November 4, 2009;

MEDIA RELEASE No: 2009 - 15  

For Immediate release:
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff report that Mr Mandla Peter Manqele (34) of Sangoyane village, was found guilty of possessing an unlicenced fire-arm in the Ntambanana magistrates court recently and sentenced to 15 years in prison with five years suspended, as well as a fine of R60 000 of which R20 000 was suspended.
The case arose from an incident on 14 February 2009 when a field ranger contacted his senior ranger at about 19.15 one evening to report hearing a shot in the Skwebezana area of the Imfolozi section of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.
The senior ranger immediately mobilised more field rangers and moved into the area where three men, two of whom were armed, had earlier been seen moving near the fence of the Park.
The EKZNW team set up an ambush on a well known path just outside the game reserve.
About ten minutes after taking up their positions the team heard voices speaking in isiZulu as a group of men approached them.
The EKZNW team identified themselves verbally as conservation officers and instructed the men to stand still, but as the EZKNW team approached the men ran away.
As it was now fully dark and the men were known to be armed, the senior ranger used an illumination flare to light the area.
One suspect was seen to be carrying a rifle on a sling over his shoulder and was arrested.
The other two men managed to evade the field rangers and escaped into the dark.
The EKZNW team recovered various items that had been abandoned by the suspects during the chase - these included another R1 rifle, a rifle bag and 7.62mm ammunition as well as items of clothing.
The suspect was taken to the Ntambanana police station and charged with the illegal possession of a fire-arm.
A later, daylight examination of the area and the routes the suspects had taken both inside and outside the Park revealed further items belonging to them.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize.
“The heavy sentence sends a very clear message to those who would plunder our wildlife resources that we will not tolerate poaching under any circumstances and that our staff are prepared to take swift and effective action,” he said.
“Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has a mandate to protect the wildlife assets of this province and my staff - particularly the Imfolozi field rangers and senior ranger in this case - are to be commended for the dedicated manner in which they perform this often dangerous task,” he added.
AJG/ Media Release No: 2009 - 15 
For further information contact the Media Manager on 033 845 1235; email or fax 033 845 1299.

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