Rangers in court

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A poacher is fighting for his life in the Musina Hospital in Limpopo after he was allegedly shot and injured by game rangers. His two accomplices were shot dead.

It is alleged that four game rangers at the Madimbo Corridor near Musina, came across three men who were hunting "illegally" in the Tshikuyu area near Masisi on Tuesday morning.

The area falls under the Kruger National Park.

One of the men was killed instantly while the other died later at the Masisi clinic, apparently from gunshot wounds. Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said they had arrested four rangers and charged them with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

Ramatseba identified the dead men as Albert Masisi, 43, and Colbert Mavundadachi, 44, all of Masisi in the Vhembe district. The injured man was identified as Sondaha Mpofu, 40. Ramatseba said Mpofu was admitted with serious injuries.

The rangers, Hasani Matchabe, Sihlandu Mkahachani, Noel Maluleke and Morgan Sihalangu, aged between 26 and 38 years, appeared in the Mutale magistrate's court yesterday and their case was postponed to February 21, said Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba.

The rangers are employed by the Makuleke community and not the Kruger National Park. The Makuleke people, who were removed from the area under discriminatory apartheid laws in the late 1960s, now own around 25 000 hectares of the land in the far north of the park on the border with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Their bail was set at R500 each. - Sapa