NPA welcomes sangoma animal abuse conviction, issues warning

2018-05-28 19:37
This vervet monkey had its leg sawn off. (SPCA, file)

This vervet monkey had its leg sawn off. (SPCA, file)

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The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the conviction of a sangoma accused of animal abuse.

Traditional healer Pauline Tukula was convicted in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court, of keeping wild animals without a permit and was fined R6 000 or six months in prison, wholly suspended for five years.

Tshidiso Sidwell Tukula, reportedly the sangoma's husband, was fined R6 000 or six months in prison, of which R4 000 or four months was suspended for five years.

READ: Don't keep exotic pets, urges SPCA following the discovery of an abused monkey

"The sentences imposed on the above-mentioned matter is appropriate," Free State NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping told News24.

"We know people look at the fact that the sentences have been wholly suspended, but it's very stiff if you consider that if they are found guilty for a similar offence in a period of five years, the whole sentence becomes effective," he added.

Immediate action

News24 previously reported that a vervet monkey was found in Bloemfontein. The monkey's leg had been sawn off.

The SPCA in Bloemfontein laid the complaint after it visited Tukula.

"With our visit to Pauline Tukula in Kabane Street in Botchabelo, Bloemfontein, Pauline tried to pull our attention away and showed us all her certificates to show that she is a traditional healer," said SPCA Bloemfontein senior inspector Reinet Meyer.

"It did not take our attention away [from] the true problem at all and we paid attention to the vervet monkey and the eight tortoises. The vervet monkey was in a wire cage. During our visit, there was no food or water available for the poor animal," she added.

READ: SPCA shocked after dog is skinned alive

Meyer said that the monkey's cage was too small and one tortoise was lying on its back, unable to right itself.

The SPCA took immediate action to prevent further harm to the animals, which had no food or water.

"When we asked Pauline Tukula what she was doing with the animals, she admitted that she used them in her traditional rituals. The vervet monkey and the eight tortoises [were] confiscated and taken to the Bloemfontein SPCA for safe custody.

"The vervet monkey and tortoises were taken to a vet and it was found that a tooth of the monkey was pulled out. The monkey and tortoises [were] also malnourished and dehydrated," said Meyer.

Case volume

Shuping said that the NPA took the abuse of animals seriously despite low case volumes, though he added that case numbers have been on the increase.

"We don't get a lot of them but in all case dockets registered, we do institute prosecution.

"There is definitely an increase but most cruelty-to-animal cases involve dogs."

According to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, monkeys were also popular with some traditional healers and Meyer insisted that the SPCA would not tolerate any abuse of animals.

"Although you are a sangoma, the Bloemfontein SPCA will not tolerate animal abuse. If you are guilty of animal abuse or because you do not have permits to keep wild animals, we will lay charges against any person.

"It does not matter how many certificates you have or like, in the case of the sangoma [who] has traditional healing certificates, [it] does not mean that animal abuse may take place," she added.

Asked if there was sufficient public education on animal rights, Shuping said: "No, because there is always more that can be done."

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Read more on:    spca  |  npa  |  bloemfontein  |  animals

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