AfriForum compels witnesses in Thandi Modise case to make verbal statements

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit summoned Bejani Chauke and Capt. Tebogo Mokolobate in terms of Schedule 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act to appear in the Potchefstroom Magistrates Court to provide the prosecution team with essential and applicable information in its case against Thandi Modise. Chauke and Mokolobate are witnesses in AfriForum and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (NSPCA’s) private prosecution case against Modise.

Chauke did not attend the court proceedings. His legal representatives explained that he could not testify in court today because of medical reasons. AfriForum did not accept the apology, however, and applied for a warrant for arrest, which will stand over until 29 April 2019. The whole process is being delayed as a result of Chauke’s failure of four months to comply with the summons. Mokolobate appeared in court today and agreed to make his statement to the investigative officer at the private prosecution unit on 10 April. If he fails to adhere to the agreement, proceedings will continue on 29 April.

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit will prosecute Modise on behalf of the NSPCA on a charge of animal cruelty. Chauke and Mokolobate refused to provide statements to the private prosecution unit but were summoned in terms of Schedule 205 to make their statements. Schedule 205 is especially aimed at compelling people with information about an alleged crime, but who are unwilling to share it with investigators, to provide the information.

“AfriForum’s private prosecution unit welcomes this turn in the case, which means that we are now yet another step closer to getting Modise in court. Although we have followed the process before, it remains unique in South African legal history that witnesses are compelled in terms of Schedule 205 to make statements. The private prosecution unit has a very strong case against Modise, and it is one of our main aims to ensure that no person escape prosecution simply because they are being protected through political alliances,” says Elias Maangwale, Investigator at AfriForum’s private prosecution unit.

“The NSPCA received a complaint in July 2014 of one of the cruellest cases of animal abuse that the welfare organisation has ever seen. Modise’s farm was covered in the carcasses of more than 50 swine and other animals like geese, ducks, sheep and goats. The surviving animals, including swine, sheep, chickens and goats were all left in a desperate state without food and water. The SPCA had to put down 162 animals as a result of their dire circumstances,” says Grace de Lange, Manager of the NSPCA’s farm animal protection unit.

Chauke, who was Modise’s adviser, is now Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s adviser. Mokolobate is a captain in the South African Police Service and head of Modise’s security when the alleged crime was committed. 

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