Modise could face jail over animals

2014-07-13 10:08
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Johannesburg - National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise could face over 200 charges of animal cruelty and jail time if found guilty after dozens of animals were found dead and starving on her North West farm recently.

According to the Sunday Independent, the SPCA could charge Modise per animal after she allegedly failed to provide food, water and veterinary treatment. The organisation’s farm unit head, Andries Venter, said Modise could also face a separate charge for each animal for having allowed this to happen – unless she can prove that someone else was to blame.

Venter added that the organisation would ask the court to consider that she be declared unfit to own any animal.

According to the Animal Protection Act, those found guilty of contravening the act can be sentenced to 12 months in jail.

In addition to the SPCA’s case, which still has to be formalised, the DA has laid a charge against Modise of contravening the Animal Protection Act.

This comes after the SPCA made a grisly discover last weekend when it found 80 dead animals on Modise’s farm near Potchefstroom. Another 117 were so starved of food and water they had to be euthanized.

On Saturday however, it emerged that the last farmworker to abandon Modise's farm said his family was forced to leave because they too faced starvation, reported the Sunday Times.

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, issued on Modise's behalf, claims that farmworkers abandoned the farm due to ill treatment were dismissed as "baseless and malicious".

According to the report, Tebogo Moekaedi spent 47 days on the farm, and was told by his predecessor to feed the pigs only every second day to eke out the pig feed left on the farm.

His predecessor also warned that he had only received R800 in payment for three months work.

On Monday, the animals that survived – including sheep, goats, chickens and geese - were removed from the farm. The cattle were left behind.

"A condition for their remaining on the farm was that appropriate food would be provided immediately for them," said the SPCA.

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 learnt of the neglect only after the SPCA had made its gruesome discovery.

Modise said the manager of the farm had asked for a leave of absence two weeks ago to attend to an urgent family matter. She said she believed his replacement had matters under control and was shocked to learn that he had disappeared.

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