Marshelle Blignaut (42), Jacobus Naumann (57), Petrus Smith (34), Frederick Nance (22) and William Nance (55) were sentenced on Friday by the Port Elizabeth High court to a total of 87-years direct imprisonment for two counts of Racketeering and one count for operating a fishing establishment without a permit. Blighnaut was sentenced to 12-years, Naumann and Smith each to 24 years' imprisonment, Frederick Nance to 27-years and William Nance to either a fine of R20 000 or 18-months imprisonment.
The first accused for this case, Morne Blignaut (48), was sentenced during September 2018 by the Port Elizabeth High court to 20-years direct imprisonment for the same charges.
The six were arrested in Port Elizabeth by the Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit of the Hawks during June 2016.
From 2014 to 2016 the Hawks conducted a project driven investigation into this Abalone syndicate. Morne Blignaut and his accomplices were the subject of this project driven investigation dubbed 'Little Rhino'. Investigations established that from July 2013 to August 2014, the syndicate made a total of R67,2 million from their criminal activities.
Marshelle Blignaut, Naumann, Smith, Frederick Nance and William Nance pleaded guilty before the Port Elizabeth High court on 22 of August 2018.