Nonsikelelo Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
TWO men who allegedly killed 13 elephants after poisoning them with cyanide have appeared in court.
Zwelitsha Tshuma (37) from Jambezi and Sitshuwade Msipa (47) from Jabula village outside Victoria Falls appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate, Ms Lindiwe Maphosa, on Friday facing charges of use of a toxic substance on the environment.
The duo allegedly poisoned the elephants last month in Jambezi.
Their alleged accomplice, Shepard Siwela, is still on the run.
Through their lawyer Mr Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company, the duo pleaded not guilty and were remanded to next week on Friday for judgment.
Prosecuting, Mr Takunda Ndovorwi said Tshuma, Msipa and Siwela poisoned the elephants using orange peels mixed with cyanide.
“Between 5 and 12 October at Masikili Communal Land, Nywenywe Springs in Jambezi, Tshuma, Msipa and Shepard Siwela who is still at large acting in common purpose discharged cyanide granules mixed with orange peels into the environment,” said the prosecutor.
Thirteen elephants valued at $650 000 were killed. Nine were found with their tusks whilst the other four were dehorned.
Meanwhile, a serial poacher from Victoria Falls, Namatani Ndlovu Lufu (32) of 6525 Mkhosana suburb has been sentenced to nine years in jail after he was found in possession of two elephant tusks.
Ndlovu was arrested in August when an anti-poaching team comprising police and Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers ambushed him with the tusks in a bush near the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road.
Ndlovu, who has been in court for similar crimes, pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa charged with possession of raw ivory without a permit under the Parks and Wildlife Act.
He was convicted and jailed for nine years.
Prosecuting Mr David Tivakudze said the incident happened in August.
“In August accused reportedly drove a vehicle to a bush along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road near Chinotimba suburb with the intention of hiding two elephant tusks.
“Upon arrival he took the tusks one at a time and hid them in the bush but unknown to him his activities were in full view of the anti-poaching team who immediately arrested him,” said Mr Tivakudze.