The Skukuza Regional Court, better known as the “rhino court”, will continue to operate in the “capital” of the Kruger National Park.
This follows a Constitutional Court decision to dismiss an application for leave to appeal a High Court decision allowing for the Skukuza Regional Court to continue operating in the world-renowned game reserve.
The application for leave to appeal was brought by the Mpumalanga Regional Court President who wanted to move all cases scheduled for Skukuza to the Mhala Circuit Court. “She faced opposition from people including Mpumalanga High Court President Francis Legodi and the National Director of Public Prosecutions,” SANParks said in a statement. Her decision was declared invalid and ends the legal battle over regional court status for the Skukuza court.
The Constitutional Court decision is welcomed by SANParks with Kruger managing executive Gareth Coleman on record as saying “we look forward to continuation of operations at Skukuza Regional Court”.
Pieter Groenewald’s Freedom Front Plus (FF+) also welcomed the Kruger court retaining its regional status.
A statement said the party saw the attempt to remove the court’s regional status as “benefitting only rhino poachers” calling the subsequent legal proceedings “a waste of taxpayer money”.
The application, if successful, would have seen the entire Skukuza court roll of 72 cases (almost all involving wildlife crime) moved to Mhlala court in Bushbuckridge, outside Kruger’s western boundary.