File picture - A janitor accused of burying a dog alive on a school field in Khayelitsha appeared in Khayelitsha Magistrate court on charges of animal cruelty. Picture Cindy Waxa

Cape Town -

A high school principal and two janitors accused of animal cruelty by burying a dog alive appeared in the Khayelitsha District Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

The matter was postponed to October 25 because the 44-year-old principal's lawyer withdrew from the case and one co-accused wanted to attend a funeral.

The principal, Manono Makhapela, and janitors Polo Elliot Mfengu and Mkhumbuzi Ncedana, both 59, were arrested in June after allegedly burying a stray dog alive at the Luhlaza Secondary School in Khayelitsha in October last year.

The dog, which was near death, was rescued and taken to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. The abuse resulted in Makhapela being found guilty of misconduct in internal disciplinary proceedings.

Makhapela, who was two hours late for court on Thursday, said he thought the case only began on Friday.

Magistrate Xolani Menyilwe said because it was such a high profile case he had been looking forward to it. He said he had prevented the case from going to the backlog court as he wished to deal with it himself.

“When I entered the court room this morning in anticipation of the case starting, I was informed that the attorney wished to withdraw because the case was against her beliefs and principles.

“I was furious at having to postpone the matter, as it meant the case had to be transferred to another court.” - Sapa