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Johannesburg - National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairwoman Thandi Modise was attached to her pigs, and a report stating she suffered more than them was untrue, her spokesman said on Tuesday.
“She was not only misunderstood, she was misquoted,” Modise's spokesman Neo Moepi said.
“What she was saying was that despite losing money and investment in the farm, what was of even more great importance was the loss of livestock because she was so attached to the animals.”
Moepi was reacting to Tuesday's front page headline in the Sowetan newspaper: “I suffered more than the pigs”.
The newspaper quoted Modise saying in a statement issued to media on Monday: “The suffering that the animals endured does not compare to the financial loss that I suffered.”
The Sunday Independent reported that Modise bought the multimillion-rand farm Modderfontein, near Potchefstroom, North West, around three years ago.
The remaining 85 pigs on the farm had begun cannibalising 58 dead pigs, and were reportedly drinking their own urine. Sheep, geese, goats and ducks had also died on the farm. Police and officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) made the discovery on Saturday.
Beeld reported on Tuesday that nearly 120 of the animals had been put down since Saturday.
“It was one of the worst scenes I witnessed in my 20 years at the SPCA,” Andries Venter, manager and senior inspector of the organisation's farm animal unit, told Beeld.
According to the Sunday Independent, it appeared the animals had been without water and food for around two weeks. 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, an interim farm manager and lawyers to deal with problems on the farm. She learnt of the neglect late on Saturday.
Modise said the manager of the farm had asked for a leave of absence two weeks ago to attend an urgent family matter. She said she believed his replacement had matters under control and was shocked to learn he had disappeared. - Sapa