Pound man on theft charge

2010-03-24 00:00

UMNGENI Municipality’s pound master, Richard Ndlovu, appeared briefly in a Pietermaritzburg district court yesterday on a charge of possession of stolen stock and was released on R1 000 bail pending his next court appearance.

He was arrested and charged at the weekend after members of the SAPS stock theft unit allegedly linked him to the sale of two cattle for which no identifying documents or brand marks were available. The legal owner of the cattle has yet to be traced.

The Witness learned that stock theft unit members following routine procedures stopped a bakkie on the N3 near Pietermaritzburg on Sunday to check the paperwork relating to a cow that was being transported. It was established the animal was en route to Hammarsdale, where it was to be slaughtered for a wedding.

The seizure of the animal by police at the weekend meant that the wedding could not proceed.

The owner, C.J. Zondo, allegedly reported that the cow was one of two bought from Ndlovu.

The other animal had already been slaughtered at the bride’s family home in Estcourt on Friday.

Police allegedly have evidence linking Ndlovu to the sale of both cattle, which were bought for a total of R6 600.

Ndlovu was not asked to plead to any charges when he appeared in court yesterday.

The Witness has learned that Ndlovu, of Skywood CC — allegedly a well known cattle trader — was awarded a tender to operate an animal pound by the municipality in May 2008 under questionable circumstances.

It has been alleged that before 2008, Bruce Matteson’s organisation, Cow Catchers CC, had been impounding stray animals for a number of years and it cost the municipality nothing. Since being awarded the tender, Ndlovu has been paid about R120 000.

Matteson is the impounding agent for other municipalities and has a pound outside Howick at Mpophomeni. The fact that the stock theft unit has on occasion used his facilities to impound animals in uMngeni has led to complaints by Ndlovu that this causes confusion among the local population about who the official pound master is.

The complaints resulted in uMngeni Municipality instituting legal action against Matteson to close his pound.

uMngeni DA councillor Moira Grueneberg confirmed that the DA has refused to endorse this legal action because it views it as “fruitless expenditure”.

She said that Ndlovu does not have suitable vehicles to impound animals and that goats that he had impounded were confiscated on the N3 by officials of the Road Traffic Inspectorate because of the inhumane conditions under which they were transported.

“There is something decidedly dubious about the whole arrangement with Richard Ndlovu, and the municipality needs to answer the question why a free, fully functional system was thrown out and a cattle trader, now charged with possessing stolen stock and without the necessary facilities, was awarded a tender,” said Grueneberg.

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