3 RHINO POACHERS CONVICTED: 3 Rhino Poaching Suspects Convicted & Sentenced in Durban Regional Court
Media Statement from Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation
South African Police Service
KwaZulu-Natal - The National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has hailed the conviction and sentencing of three suspects for rhino poaching by the Durban Regional Court yesterday.
The three Funokwakhe Khoza (51), Ayanda Buthelezi (40) Mduduzi Xulu (51) were arrested on 26 August 2009, by the KZN Hawks’ Wildlife Anti-Poaching unit and Umfolozi game rangers at a roadblock in a pick-up truck carrying
a .303 rifle, two axes covered in blood and rhino horn
This was after the rangers heard gunshots whilst on patrol and a joint search by the Hawks and park wardens yielded results when three men were stopped whilst driving a Nissan bakkie with blood dripping from their clothing and in possession of two rhino horns. The suspects were arrested on the spot and the case docket was allocated to Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime members for further investigation.
The case dragged for nearly 10 years following several deliberate futile attempts by the suspects to stall the court proceedings. Khoza gave various excuses and changed lawyers which hampered the administration of justice.
Despite the suspects’ tricks, Funokwakhe Khoza (51) was sentenced to 14 years direct imprisonment, Ayanda Buthelezi (40) was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years and Mduduzi Xulu (51) was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years.
Media enquiries: Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo - 071 481 3475