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Notorious rhino poaching brothers finally sentenced to prison

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Two brothers, Gideon and Nicholaas van Deventer have been sentenced to 10 and 15 years respectively after both pleaded guilty to rhino poaching and dealing at the Giyani Magistrates court in Limpopo on 5 May.

The van Deventer brothers are two of South Africa’s most notorious poachers after they left a trail of rhino carcasses in their wake over the 2016/17 new year.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the brothers pleaded guilty to several charges, including conspiracy to hunt rhinos; illegal hunting, dehorning a rhino bull, possession of rhino horns, selling rhino horns and trespassing.

These repeat offenders are said to have links to the “Boere rhino-horn mafia,’ where they have been involved in the killing of rhinos in 2005 and 2006 in public and private nature reserves.

They were caught in 2006 with four rhino horns while leaving Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, and Nicolaas was sentenced to two and a half years while Gideon was sentenced to eight years.

After new year’s in 2017, the Limpopo Endangered Species Unit nabbed the brothers after receiving a tip-off that the brothers were trying to sell rhino horns in the Makhado area, and remained in custody until the trial.

A bag containing a rhino horn was tossed out of their bakkie window during a high-speed chase and was recovered by the police after their arrest.

Prosecutor Norman Makuvele expressed disappointment to Daily Maverickcommenting that they were too lenient.

‘As a prosecutor who worked on the case, I am not happy with the sentences because the accused were convicted for multiple offences of rhino poaching and dealing and possession of rhino horns – in all 13 counts. Each count carries a 15-year sentence as per the LEMA Act 7 of 2003, and further, the accused were convicted in 2007 at Bloemfontein for killing more than 10 rhinos and sentenced very leniently,’ Makuvele said.

Picture: Getaway Gallery

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