Thandi Modise, former Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and current Speaker of the National Assembly, today appeared in the Potchefstroom Regional Court for the first time on charges of animal cruelty. The case was postponed until 30 October 2019 when Modise will plead on the charges. Modise is being prosecuted privately by Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. Adv. Nel is acting on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in this case. Modise is being prosecuted privately seeing as the Nation Prosecuting Authority (NPA) refused to prosecute her despite the fact that she has a prima facie case against her.
Modise had to appear in court for the first time on 21 June 2019, but her legal team however argued that she could not appear in court due to her responsibilities as Parliamentary Speaker and Presiding Officer at Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address in Cape Town.
AfriForum and the NSPCA furthermore announced today that the civil rights organisation’s Private Prosecution Unit will privately prosecute another person on behalf of the NSPCA. This entails the private prosecution of Leon Thom, owner of Malati Dairy in Gravelotte, Limpopo. Despite various warnings and attempts by the NSPCA to put a stop to the alleged unnecessary confinement and chaining of Thom’s dairy calves, the confinement and chaining continued. The NSPCA has in terms of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1993 (Act No. 169 of 1993) the statutory powers to privately prosecute offenders where the NPA declines to do so.
“The fact that the NPA decided not to prosecute Thandi Modise even though there was a strong case against her, is a serious breach of the principle of equality before the law. Modise cannot be treated differently than other citizens by the NPA simply because she occupies an important political position. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was particularly established to intervene in cases such as this of Modise, where the NPA is failing in its duty seemingly due to political reasons, to prosecute privately to help ensure justice,” says Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum.
“The NSPCA, having been approached by Gerrie Nel of AfriForum, is indebted to the legal team, without whom justice would not even be a possibility due to the enormous investigative process and the invaluable legal experience. As said by Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated’,” says Marcelle Meredith, Executive Director of the NSPCA.
Follow these links for background on the case against Thandi Modise: