Cape Town - About 50 animal rights activists protested outside Parliament on Tuesday morning, demanding the resignation of National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairwoman Thandi Modise.
They called on her to quit immediately in the light of the alleged negligence that led to the deaths of animals on her Potchefstroom farm.
Many of the animals were found to be in such a poor state they had to be put down.
One of the protesters’ posters quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s comment: “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Others read “cruelty is a crime”, “Shame on you Modise” and “Don’t be sorry, do something”.
Nikki Elliott, protest organiser and founder of United Front for Animals, said she’d had to do something because “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”.
“We are here to say to Thandi Modise and our government, to all those who abuse animals, all those who consent to the abuse by silence and those who stand by and do nothing – enough is enough,” Elliott told the crowd before handing over a memorandum to a representative of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
She asked that Modise accept responsibility for what happened on her farm by resigning and donating her farm to animal welfare.
“That would be a good start,” she said.
“If failure to supply food and water to animals is the type of ‘mistake’ you make - what next?”
Modise has said she was let down by people she had entrusted with the care for her livestock.
The acting deputy director-general for the department, Mooketsa Ramasodi, accepted the memorandum on behalf of the minister, Senzeni Zokwana. He said he was aware legislation was being reviewed and would be considering animal rights going forward.
He could not make a comment on the memorandum, however, as this would have to come from Zokwana.
Jenni Trethowan, from the Baboon Matters Trust, said she would like to see an animal rights bill.
“I believe that there should be an animal rights law in South Africa, not just animal welfare. There are too many loopholes in the law and animals fall through the cracks.”
Toni Brockhoven, who attended the protest on behalf of Beauty Without Cruelty, said Modise’s reported argument that she was “just a woman” and still learning was insulting and a “giant step” back for women.