AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit subpoenaed Thandi Modise, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, to appear in the Potchefstroom Regional Court on 21 June 2019 on charges of animal abuse. This follows after the Private Prosecution Unit last year announced that they would privately prosecute Modise on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).
The NSPCA responded to a complaint received in July 2014 and immediately investigated the matter. They could ascertain that the owner of the farm where the alleged animal abuse occurred, was Thandi Modise. Modise’s farm was littered with carcasses of over 50 pigs and other dead animals such as geese, ducks, sheep and goats. The surviving animals, including pigs, sheep, chickens and goats, were left without food and water and were in a state of desperation when they were discovered. The NSPCA had to euthanise 162 animals due to their deprived conditions.
“The investigation has been concluded and steps have been taken to bring Modise before the court. The summons was successfully served, and she must appear in court on 21 June 2019. This will be a first appearance and the case will most likely be postponed in order to set a trial date. The statements of the witnesses (Bejani Chauke and Capt. Tebogo Mokolobate) who failed to cooperate with AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, were acquired,” says Elias Maangwale, Investigator at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
“This was one of the cruellest cases of animal abuse that we have ever encountered. The severe degree of suffering that the animals had to endure, is unacceptable, and we cannot allow Modise to evade prosecution. We are thankful for the way in which AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has handled this matter and for the good progress,” says Grace de Lange, the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit Manager.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) failed to prosecute Modise even though there was prima facie evidence that she had made herself guilty of animal abuse. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit approached the NSPCA and offered to handle the private prosecution on their behalf.
“This is a further step in confirming the principle that nobody is above the law. Our involvement underlines the respect that we have for the selfless work the NSPCA does for the protection of animals,” says Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.