The Empangeni Magistrates Court in northern KwaZulu-Natal has sentenced four men who were arrested in connection with rhino poaching, to 30 years behind bars.

Mduduzi Magwaza, Emmanuel Xulu, Bonginhlanhla Khumalo and Vela Madela were found guilty of rhino poaching and the possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.

KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala says they welcome the judgment issued by the court.

He says: “We think this judgment will go a long way in sending a clear message that we are not going to tolerate rhino poaching and we will deal with poachers ruthlessly.”

“We must be harsh and ensure we protect rhinos and other animals that anchors tourism in KwaZulu-Natal,” adds Zikalala.