The Van Deventer brothers, Nicolaas (56) and Gideon (53) pleaded guilty and were sentenced by Giyani Magistrates’ Court, Limpopo. This follows charges; conspiracy to hunt rhinos, illegal hunting, killing, and de-horning a rhino bull. Possession of rhino horns, selling rhino horns, trespassing and possession of a loaded firearm.

The sentences were ordered to run concurrently; Deon was sentenced to serve an effective 10 years imprisonment and Nicholas will serve 15 years direct imprisonment.

VAN DEVENTER BROTHERS SENTENCED

The accused were arrested on 06 January 2017 for the offences committed between December 2016 and January 2017. On the day of their arrest, they were found tossing a rhino horn from the window of their speeding bakkie. While being pursued by police along the Vivo and Makhado Road in Limpopo.

The accused were in custody for five years waiting for their trial to be finalised.

During the aggravation of sentence, the advocate Norman Makuvele called Mario Scholtz of SanParks, who testified that the syndicates are hunting and smuggling rhino horns and the accused are hunters and dealers.

RHINO POACHING A BIG ISSUE IN SA 

He further mentioned the statistics about depleting rhino population due to poaching which overtook the reproduction and economic impact.

Advocate Makuvele told the court that the duo first made the headlines in KwaZulu-Natal 10 years ago when they were caught poaching rhinos in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park and again for possession of rhino horns in the Bela Bela area in Limpopo.

Several adult rhinos and calves were shot indiscriminately and left to die. He prayed to court to sentence the accused to a long period of imprisonment as they have countless previous convictions. Many of them relating to environmental issues and rhino poaching in South Africa.

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