After a drawn-out legal battle spearheaded by Naomi Engelbrecht, President of Mpumalanga Regional Court, the High Court has ruled against appeals to enforce the closure of the Court based in Skukuza, in the Kruger National Park.
The Skukuza Court handled the bulk of Rhino Poaching cases until an abrupt announcement in 2017 resulted in Engelbrecht transferring Rhino Poaching cases to the Mhala Court, in a move widely condemned by Anti-poaching Pole Players and Conservationists. The Skukuza Court is heralded as a specialist Anti-poaching Court.
In a Constitutional Court order issued on Monday, 1 February, Engelbrecht’s 2017 announcement to move the Rhino Poaching cases will remain invalid, and leave to appeal denied.
Engelbrecht’s decision was challenged in the North Gauteng High Court, opposed by both the Director of Public Prosecution and Mpumalanga’s High Court Judge President, but this did not prevent her from moving cases during to Mhala within two years. All of her subsequent appeals have failed.