A man linked to the slaughter of more than 140 leopards may yet face his destiny with the criminal justice system before Christmas – nearly one-and-a-half years after he was brought to court.
Mlungu Ngubane, from the Jozini district of northern KwaZulu-Natal, made his initial appearance in court in July last year.
But the case has been delayed at least eight times since then for a range of reasons |attributed to diarrhoea, dysentery or dissatisfaction with State-appointed lawyers.
Two Legal Aid lawyers have withdrawn and though a third attorney took over the case earlier this year, the first witness has yet to complete his evidence.
Ngubane appeared in court again in Richards Bay on Friday, but the case was adjourned to December by agreement with the National Prosecuting Authority.
The 63-year-old man pleaded not guilty to over 250 wildlife-related charges, including the illegal possession of 92 leopard pelts and those of several other protected animals.
He arrived at court smartly dressed, but barefoot, with his clothes and 4×4 bakkie adorned with symbols of the Shembe Church. Members of the church frequently wear traditional regalia fashioned from leopard skin and other spotted cats.