LOOK: After long manhunt, Kruger National Park poacher finally gets lengthy sentence

Mbongeni Selephi Ngobeni received a 17-year prison sentence. Picture: Supplied.

Mbongeni Selephi Ngobeni received a 17-year prison sentence. Picture: Supplied.

Published Mar 17, 2024


Mpumalanga police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the sentencing of a wanted rhino poacher following a lengthy manhunt that eventually led to his arrest.

Mbongeni Selephi Ngobeni was sentenced to an effective 17 years imprisonment by the Skukuza Regional Court on March 14. This comes after he was found guilty of hunting rhinoceros, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition as well as trespassing.

The accused was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Manamela thanked members of the public who provided valuable information that led to the suspect's arrest.

Mbongeni Selephi Ngobeni accused rhino poacher sentenced to 17 years in prison. Picture: Supplied.

The accused and two accomplices are believed to have entered the Kruger National Park through the Makoko bridge on June 21, 2016.

It did not take long before field ranger spotted human tracks in the park, which led to the carcass of a slaughtered rhinoceros.

The rangers then conducted a huge search operation which eventually led them to the accused, who was found with a large calibre hunting rifle in his possession.

However, after being charged Ngobeni was released on bail and he failed to appear for his second court appearance that was scheduled for March 19, 2019.

An arrest warrant was issued, but authorities could not trace him until December 2023, when investigators received information from the public regarding his whereabouts.