South Africa News

Zim man gets 5 years in jail for selling ‘injured & dehydrated’ pangolin in SA

The Mankweng Regional Court in Limpopo has convicted and sentenced Francis Shereni, a 45-year-old Zimbabwean national, after he was found in possession of a live pangolin.

Shereni was sentenced to five years in jail, according to Limpopo provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi.

Shereni was arrested in May 2021 along Church Street in Polokwane, while he was attempting to sell the pangolin. At the time, Shereni was in the company of an accomplice, who manage to flee.

“The accused was convicted for possession of pangolin, cruelty to the animal, and contravening the Immigration Act,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

During trial, Shereni pleaded not guilty.

“The State then led the evidence of the witnesses whose evidence revealed that the accused was found in possession of a pangolin which was kept in a steel cabinet. The animal was found with injuries caused by sharp edges inside the cabinet, and it was dehydrated,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

In aggravation of sentence, the Prosecution led by advocate Steven Muavha argued that the offence is “very prevalent” in the court’s jurisdiction.

Muavha submitted that the court should impose a sentence which would be a deterrent to potential offenders.

The State further argued that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa imposes a duty upon citizens and institutions to protect the environment for future generations.

Pangolins are among the most trafficked animals in the world and are endangered.

“The court sentenced the accused (Shereni) to a five-year jail term for possession of a pangolin, two years for cruelty to the animal, and two years for contravening the Immigration Act. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with the sentence of five years imposed in respect of count one,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Limpopo, advocate Mukhali Ivy Thenga has welcomed the sentence, and saluted the prosecution team and the police of detectives who probed the matter.

In a different case, the publication previously reported that two men, aged 37 and 52, one of them a police constable, were charged for illegal dealing in pangolin and contravention of the National Environmental Management-Biodiversity (Nemba) Act.

At the time, Gauteng spokesperson for the Hawks, Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the pangolin was found in a Toyota Verso belonging to the South African Police Service (SAPS), and attached to Mamelodi East.


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