NSPCA considers lawsuit against NCOP chair Thandi Modise over 'farm of horrors'

2017-10-16 17:43
Thandi Modise (File, Beeld)

Thandi Modise (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise could soon find herself in a private lawsuit brought by the NSPCA, after evading animal cruelty charges for over three years.

This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) informed the animal welfare society that it "had decided not to prosecute Modise on criminal charges of animal cruelty".
Grace De Lange, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) farm unit manager, told News24 that she had received correspondence from the NPA’s acting director for the Gauteng South Division, Pretoria, Advocate George Baloyi, informing her of their decision.

In the letter, which News24 has seen, Baloyi states: "Although the available evidence prima facie indicates that there was ill-treatment of the animals in contravention of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962, I am of the view that there is not a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution".

Baloyi said he could not conclude that there was a reasonable possibility a court would find Modise acted negligently, taking into account she was based in Cape Town and appeared to have delegated management of the farm.

He was also of the view that an NSPCA employee had entered the premises before obtaining a warrant, which "severely compromised the admissibility of the evidence".

De Lange replied: "Basically, he was saying our case lacked evidence and it would be difficult to prove, as there were too may parties involved. To us, it is one of the cruelest cases of animal abuse that the NSPCA has come across. These animals were denied basic minimum care and suffered neglect, starvation and abandonment."

Baloyi issued a nolle prosequi certificate at the end of last month, which gave the NSPCA the green light for private prosecution.

De Lange said they were now considering this step.

The charges against Modise stemmed from an NSPCA inspection at her North West province "farm of horrors", near Potchefstroom in July 2014.

Also read: Modise to meet police over farm animals - report

Acting on a tip-off that the farm had been abandoned, the society’s senior farm inspector, Andries Venter, obtained a search warrant and found the farm littered with the carcasses of more than 50 dead pigs, and other animals and birds, including geese, ducks, sheep and goats.

Surviving pigs were found eating other pigs.

Having previously been rejected by both the Supreme Court and the Appeals Court, the NSPCA last year won a landmark Constitutional Court ruling against the Justice and Constitutional Development Minister and the National Director of Public Prosecutions, entitling the body to privately prosecute individuals or businesses.

In his December 2016 ruling, Judge J Khampepe declared that "the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has the statutory power of private prosecution conferred upon it by section 6(2)(e) of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 169.

Read more on:    nspca  |  thandi modise  |  mahikeng

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