Suspects plead not guilty to poaching kudu
...They were allegedly found having prepared a camp fire at Hlane Royal National Park.
THREE men charged with poaching a kudu (lishongololo) at the Hlane Royal National Park have pleaded not guilty to the offence.
They are Sibusiso Dlamini, Titus Musi and Amos Musi, who tendered their pleas before Judge Doris Tshabalala yesterday.
However, the matter could not proceed as the Crown, represented by Ayanda Matsenjwa, is yet to amend the charge sheet and defence counsel, Ben J Simelane, felt that some of the charges that appear in the indictment had been duplicated. According to the indictment, Fana Vusi Mbatha, a game ranger of Ndlovu camp at Hlane Royal National Park, together with his colleagues, were conducting their routine patrols when they suddenly heard gunshots at Hlane.
Since they are always on the lookout for poachers, they proceeded to the direction where the sound of gunshots was heard.
Upon coming closer, Mbatha states in the indictment that they noticed four men seated next to a camp fire and a dead kudu next to them while firearms were also placed next to the fire.
Mbatha further states that he, together with his team of rangers, advanced and approached the four men whom they cornered before they could grab their guns and that is when they tried to run away and one of the suspects was shot in the foot and dropped his gun and surrendered while the others were also apprehended.
Mbatha then introduced his team as rangers and informed the suspects that they were under arrest for illegally poaching at the National Park and were subsequently handed over to the Simunye police.
The trial has been allocated three days.