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The civil rights organisation AfriForum is disappointed in the judgement made by Magistrate Ben Mtebele on Friday afternoon in the Potchefstroom Regional Court in the case in which Thandi Modise, Speaker in Parliament, appeared in connection with charges of animal abuse.

The judgement follows after Adv. Dali Mpofu, Modise’s legal representative, yesterday brought a section 174 application in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act. Mpofu argued that Modise should be found innocent on all charges against her. Mtebele dismissed the case.

“AfriForum is disappointed with the judgement. We are of the opinion that there are enough grounds to appeal the judgement and we have already received instructions to proceed with the appeal,” says Andrew Leask, Head Investigator at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.

Dr Theo de Jager, Board Chairperson of the family farming organisation Saai, says the case against Modise creates great confusion in the agricultural sector about where the accountability and responsibility of cattle farmers lie with regards to the welfare of animals.

More than 200 animals on Modise’s farm had to be put down in 2014 due to malnourishment. Dr Sameer Abbas, a veterinarian from Potchefstroom, who was called to the scene at the time, on Wednesday testified about the condition of the animals when he arrived on the farm. According to Abbas the animals were in an extremely poor condition and that some of the animals were only skin and bone.

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