Wilhelmina Jacobs, 80.
Wilhelmina Jacobs, 80.

Outcry over arrest of an 80-year-old Atlantis granny

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Oct 12, 2021

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Cape Town - The Atlantis community and the family of an 80-year-old granny are up in arms, demanding the suspension of the police officers that arrested her.

Wilhelmina Jacobs was arrested on Saturday night for allegedly allowing dogs to fight at her home. Jacobs, who said she was shocked when the police arrested her, claimed that she doesn’t own a dog.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said Jacobs and two men aged 44 and 22, were arrested just before 11pm at Enchantress Crescent in Atlantis, on charges under the Animal Protection Act by the SPCA.

Van Wyk said Jacobs was released soon afterwards on a warning to appear before the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

“The two suspects (men) also appeared in court.”

Jacobs’s daughter in-law, Lavona Alberts, said she was busy with her laundry when her husband received a call from his mother, telling him that she had been arrested.

“We immediately went to the police station to hear the story. On our arrival, my husband’s brother was there and he told us that they had dogs fighting in the yard and someone called the police,” said Alberts.

She said the Atlantis police had no respect. “They think they are the law, and they hide behind the words – 'it's the law'. They didn’t even apologise to my mother in-law.”

She alleged that they went into her house and searched the cupboards.

“What did they expect to find there, more dogs in clothing cupboards?”

“They opened bags, maybe they were hoping to find more dogs there, too. The law is the law, but our police in Atlantis are abusing it to their advantage,” she said.

On arrival at the house, Cape of Good Hope SPCA Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse and Inspector Mark Syce said they discovered two dogs actively fighting and suspects attempting to flee the scene.

"The severely injured dogs were taken for veterinary treatment with multiple lacerations and puncture wounds."

SPCA chief executive, Mqabuko Moyo-Ndukwana said the organiser of the event was traced and arrested after fleeing the scene.

Moyo-Ndukwana said the property owner and another person who tried to obstruct the operation were also arrested.

SA Human Rights Commission commissioner André Gaum said the commission would look into the matter.

Atlantis Action Group commander-in-chief Verona Oktober said Alberts had told her about the incident.

“I immediately asked if there was a warrant in place to search the premises. Her reply was no. I asked if her mother in-law owns a dog. She said no. (I asked) was Jacobs was put in the back of the police van with her walker, as she is medically dependent on the walker, and was she assisted by the officer in the back of the van, and the reply was no,” said Oktober.

United Action Group (UAG) leader Niklaas Thysen condemned the alleged actions and behaviour of the police officers stationed at the Atlantis police station.

“We plead that further action be taken against those involved,” he said.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the matter had been brought to his attention and he would follow it up to get to the bottom of what actually happened.

Fritz said any citizen who felt aggrieved by the service they received from the police had the right to recourse and, depending on the facts of the case, he encouraged them to file a report with the appropriate authority.

“If you are unsure, please approach our monitoring and evaluation directorate, and they will advise you on what the appropriate steps are. We in the Western Cape government believe that the police should render a professional service to our citizens,” said Fritz.

Safety and Security Mayco member JP Smith said dog fighting is cruel and barbaric and has no place in their society.

"I call on members of the public who have knowledge of this practice to please come forward, so that those involved can be held to account for their actions," said Smith.

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