Zimbabwean man gets 5 years in jail after being caught selling a pangolin in South Africa


Zimbabwean man sentenced to five years in South African prison for pangolin sale

A 45-year-old Zimbabwean man has been handed a five-year prison sentence in South Africa after being apprehended for attempting to sell a pangolin in Polokwane in 2021.

Francis Shereni, who initially pleaded not guilty during his trial at the Mankweng Regional Court in Limpopo, was convicted based on the compelling evidence presented by the State.

According to Ms Mashudu Malabi Dzhangi, the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in Limpopo, Shereni was arrested in May 2021 while in the act of selling the endangered animal.

“The accused was arrested in May 2021 at Church Street in Polokwane, attempting to sell a pangolin with his accomplice, the latter ran away from the scene. The accused was convicted for possession of Pangolin, cruelty to animals and contravening the immigration act,” she stated.

Throughout the trial, Shereni maintained his not guilty plea. However, the prosecution presented witnesses whose testimonies revealed that the accused was indeed found in possession of a pangolin, which was kept inside a steel cabinet.

The pangolin was discovered with injuries caused by sharp edges within the cabinet, and it was severely dehydrated.

In seeking a suitable sentence, Advocate Steven Muavha, the prosecutor, argued that such offences were alarmingly prevalent in Limpopo. He urged the court to impose a punishment that would serve as a deterrent to potential offenders.

Consequently, the court sentenced Shereni to five years in prison for the pangolin’s possession, two years for animal cruelty, and an additional two years for contravening the immigration act. These sentences are to be served concurrently with the initial five-year sentence imposed for the first count.

The ruling serves as a strong message against the illegal wildlife trade and highlights the commitment of South African authorities to protect endangered species from exploitation and harm.

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