03 April 2022

After a guilty plea, Rich Ricardo Chauke, aged 23 was sentenced by the Skukuza Regional Court on Friday, 01 April 2022 for pouching.

Chauke was sentenced as follows; on the count of trespassing, the accused was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and for contravention of the Immigration Act, he was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment and 6 years imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

He has further sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for possession of unlicensed ammunition, the accused was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment whilst for possession of a dangerous weapon, he was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment, serving a full sentence amounting to 9 years of imprisonment whilst also found to be unfit to own a firearm.

This follows after the accused, together with his two accomplices went for poaching at the Kruger National Park on 09 April 2021 and they illegally entered through the Houtboschrand Section of the park.

It is said that the field rangers who were on duty on the said day were busy patrolling when they noticed some footprints on the tarred road at the Houtboschrand Section of the park which alerted them that there were some intruders.

A tracking dog was used by the rangers to aid with the search for the intruders.

Three were hiding in a thick bush and two of the poachers fled and Chauke was caught by the rangers.

He was found in possession of a .458 Win Mag bolt action rifle with no serial numbers, two cartridges of the said rifle, as well as three backpacks, and an axe.

Police at Skukuza responded swiftly to the incident.

The accused was arrested and charged with trespassing, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapon, and after police determined that the accused was originally from the country of Mozambique and was in South Africa illegally, he was also charged for the contravention of the Immigration Act.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Daphney Manamela welcomes the sentence and appreciates the collaboration that exists amongst the stakeholders, including the field rangers, the investigation team, the Prosecution Team, and the Judiciary which collectively culminated into the desired results.

 “We hope that the sentence will serve as a deterrence and that people will begin to understand the importance of preserving and protecting nature as well as the endangered species even for the next generation,” said the General.