THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has scored a minor victory over the poaching scourge which has wiped out more than 600 rhinos this year.
This week, the Khayelitsha Priority Court granted the prosecution an order allowing police to "red flag" two Vietnamese men from entering South Africa. Chu Huong Giang, 25, and Dang Xuang Bihn, 32, were sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegal possession of rhino horns on Monday.
The two were found with 12 rhino horns weighing 38.14kg and valued at R2.8-million in November 2010 after entering the country illegally.
This month, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa revealed that the number of rhinos poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year had risen to 635.
Molewa said 194 people had been arrested for cases related to rhino poaching.
She said 396 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, 64 in Limpopo, 63 in KwaZulu-Natal, 62 in the North West and 43 in Mpumalanga.
Eric Ntabazalila, spokesman for the NPA in the Western Cape, said Giang and Bihni would be deported after completing their sentences at Pollsmoor Prison.
"The NPA has been granted a court order that will allow police to red flag [them] at all ports of entry ... from re-entering the country," said Ntabazalila.
"We hope this sentence will send out a clear message to poachers and would-be poachers that anyone involved in such actions will pay dearly."
A total of 333 rhino were poached in 2010, 448 in 2011, and 668 last year. World Rhino Day is on Sunday. – Additional reporting by Sapa