The appeal against the conviction of fishers David Gongqose, Siphumile Windase and Nkosiphendule Juza in 2012, stood before the Mthatha High Court on Friday, November 13.
Legal Resources Centre (LRC) the legal representatives for the fishers, say that the matter stood before the court and was well received.
“The case was well recieved and was heard and got an excellent hearing” commented LRC’s Wilmein Wicomb.
“The Respondents were completely prepared and the matter ran. Judgement was reserved” she continued.
Gongqose and the two other gentleman from Dwesa-Cwebe were charged on 4 counts which they all pleaded not guilty to.
The charges were
- Attempting to fish in a Marine Protected Area (“MPA”) without permission in terms of section 43(2)(a) of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 (“the MLRA”);
- Entering in a national wildlife reserve without a permit in terms of section 29(1)(a) of the Transkei Environmental Conservation Decree 9 of 1992 (“the Decree”);
- Conveying into a national wildlife reserve, or, within such a reserve, being in possession of any weapon, explosive, trap or poison, in terms of section 29(1)(b) of the Decree; and
- Wilfully killing or injuring or disturbing any wild animal other than fish caught in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed in terms of the Decree, in terms of section 29(1)(c) of the Decree.
However all three appellants were found not guilty on charges 2 to 4 and were found guilty only on charge/count 1: attempting to fish in an MPA without permission in terms of section 43(2)(a) of the MLRA.
Mr. Gongqose and Mr Windase were sentenced to a fine of R500, alternatively 30 days’ imprisonment; and Mr Juza (a juvenile offender) was cautioned and discharged.
The current appeal lies against the above conviction by the Magistrate’s Court for the District of Elliotdale.
The appeal is brought by the three applicants Gongqose, Windase and Juza and the respondents are the State.