Sangoma's '2010' snake seized

Johannesburg – A snake apparently used to control the progress of certain teams in the Soccer World Cup has been seized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the organisation said on Monday.

"The Cape of Good Hope SPCA in Grassy Park rescued a Burmese Rock Python from a sangoma in Nyanga on 30 June 2010," said SPCA regional spokesperson Sarah Scarth.

"It is alleged that the snake was illegally transported from (KwaZulu-) Natal to Cape Town specifically for the FIFA World Cup.

"The sangoma is alleged to have accepted money from soccer fans who requested that he communicates to the ancestors and appeal to them to allow their specific football team to progress in the game."

The snake – which was found to be underweight and suffering from dehydration, mouth-rot and pneumonia – was apparently kept in a shack and car with no food or water.

It has since received medical care.

On Monday, the Daily Sun reported that the sangoma Siyabonga Mthethwa, 25, said that he was "forced" to hand over the snake, named 2010.

"2010 is my snake and I will teach them a lesson. They say a black man can't carry a snake."

Not familiar with sangomas

Mthethwa alleged that the SPCA was not familiar with sangomas.

"Everything I said does (sic) not make sense to them."

Mthethwa said that the snake was "troublesome" when he was taken away.

"I know that he will give them many problems. I will make him disappear or kill him in their care."

He said the snake would not "last long" without him.

"I know everything about his life. I will go home and bring all my other snakes and see what they will do then."

The newspaper reported that Mthethwa owns eight other snakes, of which 2010 was the smallest.

Wildlife Unit inspector and supervisor Brett Glasby said he believed the sangoma had seven snakes in all but that the others were in KwaZulu-Natal.

Glasby said the relevant authorities had been notified about the snakes.
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