Lowvelder | December 18, 2019
It has been an eventful year in Lowveld courts, with some major cases being under judicial scrutiny in order to obtain justice for the victims of violent crimes, which is at an all-time high in the province. Poaching Kingpin Big Joe’s trial was one of the significant cases that the Lowveld criminal justice system had to contend with.
Joseph Nyalunga’s, better known as Big Joe, court proceedings will carry on between 4-8 May 2020, but the date is yet to be confirmed.
Alleged rhino poaching honchos, Petros Sidney Mabuza and Joseph Nyalunga, have a long history of run-ins with the law. Dubbed “Mr Big” and “Big Joe”, several cases and investigations related to poaching and theft have been opened against them.
Nyalunga, a former policeman, was first arrested in December 2011, after the police confiscated items that were allegedly obtained through illegal proceeds gained from rhino poaching. These items were supposedly worth more than R8 million. He was released on bail of R30 000 in March 2013. Since then the case has been postponed numerous times.
A major operation by various members of law enforcement led to the re-arrest of the two poaching kingpins again on September 18, 2018.
Petros Sidney Mabuza was recently back in the White River Magistrate’s Court on July 5, for two cases in which he is accused of, among other things, theft and trading of rhino horn. According to NPA spokesman, Monica Nuyiswa, the case has been transferred to the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court for a trial scheduled to start in mid-2020.