Thandi Modise will cooperate as her farm of horrors is investigated

2014-07-07 17:07

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National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise said she will cooperate with the investigation into the neglect of animals on her farm.

“I am saddened by the abandonment and trauma the livestock suffered after workers employed on the farm unceremoniously left without notice,” she said today.

“The suffering the animals endured does not compare to the financial loss I suffered.”

Modise said she believed everything on the farm was well under the supervision of the replacement farm manager. The manager had asked for a leave of absence two weeks ago to attend to urgent family matters.

Modise said she was shocked to learn from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) that the manager had deserted the farm.

She said she had seen television footage of “political opportunists” on her private property. This constituted invasion of privacy and trespassing, she said.

The Sunday Independent reported that Modise bought the multimillion-rand farm Modderfontein, near Potchefstroom in the North West, about three years ago.

The remaining 85 pigs on the farm had begun cannibalising the 58 dead pigs, and were reportedly drinking their own urine. Sheep, geese, goats and ducks had also died.

Police and NSPCA officials made the discovery on Saturday.

It appeared the animals had been without water and food for a week, possibly two. There were no farm workers on the property, no electricity, and the water pumps were broken.

Modise said that over the past three years she had visited the farm every two weeks. She had appointed vets, an environmentalist, an interim farm manager and lawyers to deal with problems on the farm.

She said she would consider an offer from a farm to lease the property so that she could focus on her responsibilities in Cape Town.

The Freedom Front Plus today said Modise was a poor example for emerging black farmers and should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

What happened on her farm attested to poor management, the party’s agriculture spokesman Pieter Groenewald said.

“Modise’s excuse that her farm manager absconded is unacceptable. This means she had not communicated with the manager for at least one or two weeks,” he said.

Groenewald said owning a farm did not make one wealthy.

“The ownership of a farm demands responsibility, hard work, dedication and expert management,” he said.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti and the government should take note of this before they continued with their land reform plans, said Groenewald.

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