Modise animal cruelty case: Man tasked with finding caretaker disputes claims there wasn't enough feed

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National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise appears at Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on December 01, 2020 in Potchefstroom. File Photo.
National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise appears at Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on December 01, 2020 in Potchefstroom. File Photo.
Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier
  • Nimrod Tlhoaele, known as Khoroba, was called to the stand by advocate Gerrie Nel on Thursday.
  • Khoroba said National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise's secretary had asked him to find someone to work on the farm.
  • During his testimony, he disputed allegations that there was not enough feed on the farm for the livestock, as stated by Tebogo Mokaedi, the man tasked with looking after the farm.

While Nimrod Tlhoaele, known as Khoroba, confirmed that the man looking after National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise's animals had told him there was no feed left for the animals, he disputed the allegation.

This was revealed in the Potchefstroom Regional Court, where Modise is being privately prosecuted for animal cruelty by AfriForum's Private Prosecution Unit on behalf of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).

Modise had been charged with six counts of animal cruelty relating to dozens of animals that had died or were found emaciated on her farm in North West in 2014 while still the province's premier.

On Thursday, Khoroba was called to the stand by advocate Gerrie Nel, who is leading the private prosecution, to testify on his version of events on what had transpired at the farm.

Khoroba, who had been a driver for the North West Legislature, said Modise's secretary had asked him to find someone to work on the farm.

READ | Caretaker left Thandi Modise's farm because he was hungry and had not been paid, court hears

He said the secretary's name was Wendy and that he could not remember her surname.

He further said that he called Tebogo Mokaedi, who accepted the job offer and subsequently took him to the farm to meet with the previous caretaker Shadrack, who was leaving the job to look after his ill son in Zimbabwe.

Khoroba also confirmed Mokaedi's testimony that two women driving a BMW X6 arrived at the farm and identified the one woman as Wendy.

He told the court Mokaedi had called him after two or three weeks to say they had run out of feed and that he organised with Wendy to have more feed delivered.

"I called Wendy and informed her. She said it's not a problem because there is a place in Potch (Potchefstroom) where they buy the feed and that she will make arrangements for them to deliver the feed," Khoroba said.

He said they went to the farm to check if the feed had been delivered. He told the court 35 bags of feed had been delivered, but admitted that he had not counted the bags.

Khoroba said Mokaedi then called him again, saying they were running out of feed and that he also had no food and had not yet been paid.

Khoroba added:

I called Wendy again, struggled to get hold of her. When I eventually got hold of her, I said Tebogo called me, informed me that the food was delivered but is running out and that he also had no food.

Mokaedi then called Khoroba a week later, saying that the new feed had not arrived and that he decided to leave the farm as he also had no food.

Khoroba said he attempted to contact Wendy to inform her but was unsuccessful.

However, during cross-examination by Modise's lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, Khoroba disputed a number of statements made by Mokaedi, who testified in court on Wednesday.

Khoroba said he had never discussed the salary with Mokaedi. He claimed that Mokaedi never said pigs were dying during their conversations about the feed. He also said Mokaedi was lying about living on the farm for 10 weeks and said he was only there for around six weeks.

READ | Vet testifies at Thandi Modise's animal cruelty case

Khoroba added that he had not spoken to Mokaedi after he left the farm, but later corrected this by telling the court he called him after a police officer told him Mokaedi had abandoned the animals on the farm.

Khoroba further testified that when he visited, he noticed that the pigs were thin but said the rest of the animals were fine.

Mpofu pointed out that because Khoroba did not get hold of Wendy, there was no way Modise could have known the feed had run out and that Mokaedi was leaving the farm.

During re-examination by Nel, Khoroba conceded that he did not know how much a pig eats per day, that he had not counted the feed himself, and that he had also not counted how many pigs were on the farm.

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