Pretoria – The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said it has been given “the run-around” regarding the two cases it opened since 2018, of alleged abuse of service horses with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
“Since 2018, the NSPCA has been given the run-around regarding two of its cases against the defence force (SANDF) for the abuse of over 100 horses. It has been four years since the NSPCA opened its first case against the SANDF and the SAPS have still not handed over the case to the prosecutor to consider for court,” said Marcelle Meredith, executive director of the NSPCA.
The animal welfare organisation said it has now approached the commissioner of police in the North West province to urgently intervene in this matter.
“A formal complaint has been lodged with the commissioner, Lieutenant-General (Sello) Kwena, in a formal letter sent by private prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, from AfriForum, who is representing the NSPCA in this matter. In the letter, Advocate Nel draws attention to the NSPCA’s frustration regarding the indifferent attitude that this case is being handled with,” Meredith said.
“The NSPCA, through AfriForum, had formally written to Colonel Selepe and Colonel Bekker on two different occasions in March and April 2022 respectively. The letters highlighted the fact that the NSPCA has been trying to take this matter to court since 2018, and reiterated that the NSPCA was willing to assist the detectives if required.”
Meredith said no acknowledgement or response was received from either of the two detectives, who are colonels within the South African Police Service.
“In light of the above, the NSPCA’s complaint refers mainly to the inept and unprofessional work ethic of the SAPS Potchefstroom detectives assigned to this case, who have blatantly refused to work with the NSPCA to bring animal abusers to book,” she said.
In May 2018, the first case was opened, after the NSPCA was forced to remove 76 horses from the SANDF’s South African Army Special Infantry Capability. An additional 25 horses required emergency euthanasia on the premises of the SANDF because of how severely compromised their state of health was.
In 2019, during an inspection, Meredith said NSPCA inspectors witnessed members of the SANDF “brutally kicking and beating other horses” which resulted in the NSPCA removing those horses as well.
This resulted in a second case being opened by the NSPCA in February 2019.
“It appears to the NSPCA as though the accused members in this case, members of the SANDF, are imposing their will on senior detectives in the SAPS which places this case in jeopardy,” she said.
“The NSPCA had investigated, compiled and submitted case dockets to the SAPS. The dockets contained sufficient evidence against the accused in this case from the NSPCA’s investigation. The detectives in this matter simply had to collect additional information required by the prosecutor to complete the docket. It appears to the council that the detectives for this case have failed to do so after four years.”
The NSPCA has expressed “sincere appreciation” to Advocate Nel and the AfriForum team for their continued support in this matter.