The private prosecution of Thandi Modise, Speaker of parliament, was today in the Potchefstroom Regional Court postponed until 1-3 December 2020. This follows after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit announced in 2018 that they will privately prosecute Modise on behalf of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).
Modise today had to supply reasons for her failure to appear in Court in March 2020 on charges of cruelty to animals against her and the Court adjudicated that she had sufficient reason not to appear as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Modise’s legal representative in March argued that Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa instructed her to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Modise today claimed that she couldn’t appear in Court on 24 March seeing as Pres. Ramaphosa requested an urgent meeting with her on 23 March. Her lawyers however already notified the Private Prosecution Unit on 18 March that she would be unable to appear in Court on 24 March as a result of this meeting (on 23 March). Modise also failed to notify the President that she must appear in Court on 24 March or to request that the meeting be postponed. Modise replied to Adv. Nel’s question relating to this issue that she doubts whether Adv. Nel would have asked her this question if the President was a white man.
“AfriForum welcomes the fact that a date for prosecution has now at long last been determined, but we will not allow the accused to have this hearing being turned into a racial issue – the legal system is supposed to be colour blind. No-one is above the law, not even the Speaker of parliament. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit is looking forward to finally begin with the hearing so that Modise can be held accountable for this barbarous case of animal cruelty,” says Andrew Leask, Chief Investigator at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.