National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Court hears of how animals suffered on Speaker Thandi Modise’s farm

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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Cape Town - The trial against National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise continued in court on Wednesday, with witnesses giving evidence on the conditions the animals were found in on the farm in the North West several years ago.

AfriForum’s chief investigator, Andrew Leask, said on Wednesday that Dr Sameer Abbas, a veterinarian, and a former employee at the farm gave detailed accounts on the events leading to the discovery of the animals.

Leask said Abbas, who was called out to the scene, concluded his evidence on Wednesday.

“His evidence centred mainly on his personal experiences of what the dire situation was in which the animals were found on Modise’s farm. Testimony indicated that animals had suffered from muscle loss and anaemia, resulting from lack of food. Some of the carcasses were in an advanced stage of decay. He also detected evidence of the animals feeding on the carcasses.”

Leask said the second witness to take the stand was Tebogo Mokaedi, who had worked on the farm.

“He was the last person who was employed on the farm and worked there for about two months on a promise of being paid R30 a day. He never got paid, only had minimal animal feed and received only one delivery from a half-packed truck, which did not last long enough or was sufficient to feed the animals.

“Animals were already dying upon his initial arrival and he was told to dump carcasses in a hole on the farm. He witnessed animals eating each other and trying to digest the concrete flooring as food. Having no food for the animals or himself, he left the farm and returned home,” said Leask.

The case stems after the NSPCA obtaining a warrant to inspect the animals on a farm in Modderfontein in the district of Tlokwe belonging to Modise in 2014. A tip-off indicated that the animals on the property had been abandoned.

A statement by the NSPCA explained that Modise’s farm was littered with the carcasses of over 50 pigs and other dead animals such as geese, ducks, sheep and goats. The NSPCA had been forced to euthanise more than 224 animals at the farm when it visited there in July 2014.

Head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, advocate Gerrie Nel, has been pursuing the private prosecution case on behalf of the NSPCA.

Modise, who faces six counts of contravening the Animal Protection Act, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The charge sheet reads that Modise “ill-treated and neglected the animals on her farm by failing to procure and/or provide adequate feed for the animals on her farm to wit more than 147 pigs, more than 59 sheep, more than 11 lambs, more than 54 goats and more than 25 chickens and geese, causing the emaciation and even death of the animals; unnecessarily starved and/or under-fed and/or denied water or food to the animals on her farm; confine and restrain the animals on her farm without making adequate provision for suitable food, potable water and rest for such animal in circumstances where it is necessary and being the owner of any animal, deliberately or without reasonable cause or excuse, abandons it, whether permanently or not, in circumstances likely to cause that animal unnecessary suffering.”

The case continues on Thursday.

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Political Bureau

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