Johannesburg - National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairwoman Thandi Modise said on Monday she will co-operate with the investigation into the neglect of animals on her farm.
“I am saddened by the abandonment and trauma that the livestock suffered after workers employed on the farm unceremoniously left without notice,” she said in a statement.
“The suffering that the animals endured does not compare to the financial loss that I suffered.”
Modise had believed everything on the farm was well under the supervision of the replacement farm manager. The manager had asked for a leave of absence two weeks ago to attend to urgent family matters.
Modise said she was shocked to learn of the replacement's desertion from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
She said she had seen television footage of “political opportunists” on her private property. This constituted invasion of privacy and trespassing, she said.
The Sunday Independent reported that Modise bought the multi-million-rand farm Modderfontein, near Potchefstroom, North West, around three years ago.
The remaining 85 pigs on the farm had begun cannibalising the 58 dead pigs, and were reportedly drinking their own urine. Sheep, geese, goats and ducks had also died on the farm.
Police and SPCA officials made the discovery on Saturday.
It appeared the animals had been without water and food for a week, possibly two. There were no farmworkers on the property, no electricity, and the water pumps were broken.
Modise said over the past three years, she had visited the farm every two weeks. She had appointed vets, an environmentalist, interim farm manager and lawyers to deal with problems on the farm.
An offer from a farm to lease the property would also be considered, so Modise could focus on her responsibilities in Cape Town.
The Freedom Front Plus on Monday said Modise was a poor example for emerging black farmers and should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
What happened on her farm attested to poor management, the party's agriculture spokesman Pieter Groenewald said in a statement.
“Modise's excuse that her farm manager had absconded is unacceptable. This means that she had not communicated with the farm manager for at least one to two weeks,” he said.
Groenewald said owning a farm did not make one wealthy.
“The ownership of a farm demands responsibility, hard work, dedication and expert management,” he said.
Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti and government should take note of this instance before they continued with their land reform plans, he said.