Johannesburg - The High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Tuesday that the SPCA be granted access to a SA National Defence Force base in Potchefstroom, the SPCA said.

This was done to enable the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to inspect the condition of horses kept there, the society said in a statement.

The court order allowed the SPCA to confiscate evidence for the purpose of prosecution, and if necessary seize the horses to prevent cruelty or suffering pending the return date.

No horses may be removed from the SANDF base until either the SPCA or the court decide otherwise.

The SPCA said the ruling, with the SANDF also ordered to pay costs, was groundbreaking.

“A precedent has been set. No individual, organisation or operation including any government facility is above the law,” the society said.

“There are welfare concerns. The animals need attention. Work is required to rectify matters. Personnel at the base need to be educated on animal welfare.”

SANDF spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini declined to comment. - Sapa