Healer’s python put down because of poor condition

2011-02-09 00:00

THE traditional healer who has been implicated in the discovery of the head of Loyiso Jokweni (18) in a freezer, could be charged in terms of the Animal Protection Act for cruelty to the python that was found in his home.

The starving and disease-ridden snake belonging to Mafakatini traditional healer Mduduzi Manqele (49) has been humanely euthanased after it failed to respond to treatment.

Manqele is in custody at present. His empire came crashing down a fortnight ago as an enraged mob set alight to his shops and looted all the stock, after he was implicated with Roger Thusi from France in Imbali when police found the head of the missing Jokweni in Thusi’s girlfriend’s house.

On Monday night reptile expert Mark Enslin said he resorted to euthanasia as the snake was in very poor condition.

“The 1,7 metre python was far from what a healthy snake of its size will look like,” Enslin told The Witness.

The snake was taken away by police and given to the SPCA, who called Enslin in to help. Enslin said it looked as though it had battled to shed its skin.

“When I assessed the condition of the snake I noticed that the heat sensitive pits were clogged up by dry mucus.This tells me that the snake had very bad pneumonia and breathing was difficult. I also discovered that the mouth had canker, which is a type of infection caused by malnutrition, and it seemed as though the snake had no water to drink for a very long time. The reptile was skinny and very listless and was covered in parasites (lice and ticks)”, said Enslin.

Further examination showed swollen pus-filled bumps on its body, which indicated that it had an abscess that needed urgent attention.The reptile was also found to be infested with worms.

“It is my expert opinion that this snake was kept in a cruel condition, and deprived of necessities (food and water). It is against the law to keep a reptile of this kind without the necessary permits, as the Southern African Rock Python is listed as vulnerable in the latest South African Red Data Book — Reptiles and Amphibians and may not be captured or killed.”

Enslin said the male snake was about three years old and approximately 1,7 metres in length. It was very dark in colour due to the absence of natural light. “Its growth has been stunted due to serious neglect,” added Enslin.


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