A 44-year-old man handed himself over to the Mbombela Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team in the presence of his lawyer on Wednesday, in connection with the alleged kidnapping and murder of Willy Shipalane in 2010.
According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, Selby Nyalunga evaded arrest in July last year when his two co-accused – former policeman and alleged Mpumalanga rhino poaching kingpin Joseph “Big Joe” Nyalunga, 54, and his alleged henchman Elvis Mulimi, 50 – were arrested in the Hazyview area.
n 2010, information caused the police to believe that Nyalunga and Mulimi might have been involved in the murder of Shipalane, 36.
When Nyalunga was questioned about Shipalane’s disappearance, he made certain admissions and pointed out several scenes. It was then that the body of a man was found floating in the Bushbuckridge Dam in Limpopo.
At the time, the two men were arrested, appeared in court in Middelburg and were granted R1 000 bail each. Case ‘disappeared’ The case was postponed numerous times and eventually “disappeared” from the court roll, a reliable source told News24.
The case came to the fore again recently. When Nyalunga was arrested in 2012 during a sting operation in Hazyview – related to a separate matter involving the alleged purchase of rhino horn from a police informant – officers found a camera in his house.
Pictures of a person tied to a chair, who had allegedly been assaulted, were found on the camera. At the time, the police suspected it might be Shipalane in the pictures. Later, however, it was established that it was not him.
Police were never able to establish what happened to the man in the photographs on the camera or establish his whereabouts. In April this year, the murder docket was handed over to Mpumalanga’s specialised tracking team to follow up on.
Nyalunga made a brief court appearance alongside his co-accused in the Mbombela Regional Court on Wednesday and he was also granted bail. They are expected to appear in the same court on 21 February for the appointment of a legal representative.