- The SPCA raised more than R170 000 at this year's Cape Town Cycle Tour.
- The money will be used to fuel their vehicles in order to respond to more animal callouts.
- Cyclist Shivani Ghai said the physical discomfort she endured during the race was nothing compared to what the animals face.
More than 40 Race2Rescue Cape of Good Hope SPCA cyclists braved the gruelling 109km Cape Town Cycle Tour last weekend, choosing to ride for the organisation because of its work and dedication to animals.
The group of cyclists, made up of men and women, managed to raise more than R170 000 for the SPCA.
The men's elite race is 109km, and the women's elite race is 79km.
SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said they were amazed at how many people volunteered to cycle for the cause.
"It’s so much more than the money raised because now we can rescue more animals. The amount received will go directly into the fuel tanks of our vehicles so that our inspectors can respond to more outside calls where our assistance is needed," she said.
According to the SPCA, months before the cycle tour, they had put out a call to members of the public, asking them to participate for the animals.
"People then signed up to take up the challenge. Each member was then tasked with raising R2 400 in their network, which would then be distributed to the SPCA. We did not expect so many people to partake in the challenge, but we are extremely grateful that they did because now our work can be enhanced," Abraham said.
READ | Jooste, Le Court reign supreme at Cape Town Cycle Tour
She added that, despite the "tough route" the cyclists endured and "many physical discomforts", the team had managed to pull off another "brave ride".
SPCA chief executive Moyo Ndukwana said he had been blown away by the huge support they had received from the cyclists.
"Imagine if the SPCA was unable to respond to reports of animal cruelty because we had no fuel in our vehicles. We are honoured to have the support of these animal-loving cyclists who were moved to act to ensure that never happens. We can’t thank them enough," he said.
Ndukwana said that most of the funds raised would go towards fuel.
The SPCA said that if one litre of fuel cost R22.30, the R175 000 could buy approximately 7 853.36 litres - enough to fill the tanks of their vehicles and travel the distances necessary to rescue animals.
"We are pleased with the outcome and thank all those who took up the challenge to raise funds and awareness of the animals. We believe that we have to be the voice for the voiceless, and we will continue to put our heart and soul into the work we do as an animal organisation," it added.
One of the cyclists, Shivani Ghai, said the physical discomfort she had endured during the race was "nothing compared to the suffering experienced by animals awaiting rescue from conditions of neglect or abject cruelty, and that’s what kept me going".
Abraham added with a giggle: "Our team of dedicated inspectors may not have had their seats in a bicycle saddle, but it seems that they have more in common with our cyclists than they thought."
Team SPCA Cyclists have raised over R175 000.00 to keep our Inspectors on the road. https://t.co/MkZTrhpAad @VelotexSA @drinkswitch @InterworksSA #ThankYou #BecauseYouCare #WeHaveHope #WeGiveHope #AnimalRescue— Cape of Good Hope SPCA (@capespca) March 22, 2023
SPCA chief inspector Jaco Pieterse said animal rescue wasn't always easy, and that they witnessed a lot of inhumane conditions when called out to collect animals.
"It’s painful to witness the cruelty we see daily, and we can't help but feel inspired to keep pushing through that pain just like our team of SPCA cyclists until we realise a world where all animals are treated with kindness and compassion," Pieterse added.
The SPCA added that there were between 300 and 500 animals on-site at any given time.
Abraham said the organisation had already received the money raised by the cyclists.
"The SPCA will always be challenged by the volume of animals being admitted to our facilities. We have an open-door, non-discriminatory admissions policy, and we never turn any animal away. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort the cyclists took to make life a little easier for the animals," she said.
News24 previously reported that Chris Jooste and Kim Le Court De Billot had been crowned respective men's and women's winners of the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday.
South African Jooste powered to victory in a time of 02:36:14, with Andries Nigrini finishing second and Jaedon Terlouw third.
"This is the pinnacle of the sport in South Africa," Jooste said after his victory. "I'm thrilled with the win."