Court finds that vet in Thandi Modise farm saga contravened council rules

2017-12-19 20:04


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Johannesburg – The national council of an animal rights group has welcomed a judgment granted against a veterinarian who concealed essential information regarding animal cruelty at a top politician’s home.

The judgment follows protracted legal action, which was initiated in 2015 after it emerged that animals had been starving on the multimillion-rand farm of National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chair Thandi Modise in 2014.

The farm, based in the North West town of Modderfontein, just outside Potchefstroom, was found littered with the carcasses of more than 50 dead pigs, and other animals, including goats, sheep, geese, and ducks.

About 85 surviving were found eating the carcasses of those who had died.

In 2015, the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) laid a complaint against Dr Sameer Abbas, with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) after he refused to provide evidence and reports around criminal charges against Modise.

The complaint was that of unprofessional conduct in terms of the rules of the SAVC.

Abbas had taken various tissue samples from the animals, which were analysed, and also conducted post mortem procedures on the dead animals.

An independent disciplinary committee found Abbas guilty of two charges of contravening the SAVC rules, resulting in a six-month license suspension, which was in turn suspended for two years.

But Abbas appealed to the High Court.

Poor example

On December 14, the High Court handed down judgment finding Abbas guilty on additional charges.

The court also lengthened the period during which veterinary council rules had been contravened.

The NCSPCA’s Marcelle Meredith told News24 that they were happy with the ruling and Dr Bryce Marock, a veterinarian at the NCSPCA, said the court’s decision was a step in the right direction.

“It means that witnesses (especially expert witnesses) cannot just commit to assisting criminal investigations and then change their minds at a later stage, especially if they have taken evidence and [refuse] to hand it over, without any repercussions,” he said.

News24 previously reported that the Freedom Front Plus said Modise was a poor example for emerging black farmers and should be prosecuted for animal cruelty - something which the court said had a slim chance of success.

The court added that there was no reasonable possibility of a court finding that Modise had acted negligently because she was based in Cape Town and had delegated people to take care of the farm.

“The NSPCA are still taken aback by the decision made by Dr Abbas to refuse the submission of his evidence and reports, in order to acquire justice for the animals that were subjected to extreme suffering, and support the decision taken by the High Court,” read a statement.

Read more on:    nspca  |  animals

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