Thandi Modise. Picture: David Ritchie

The ANC says the controversy around the alleged neglect of animals on a farm owned by the chair of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise is being politicised.

In a statement issued by the office of the Chief Whip, the ANC said it had taken note of the on-going media reports relating to the situation at the farm. “We have observed that this unfortunate situation has now been politicised, with our detractors opportunistically using it to attack the ANC and discredit its policies on land reform.” the statement said.

The story broke when the Sunday Independent reported that animals on the farm had been left without water, possibly for up to two weeks, and were found by SPCA officials on Saturday.

This resulted in 58 dead pigs, with the remaining 85 pigs cannibalising rotting carcasses and forced to drink their own urine. In addition, 16 goats and sheep as well as several chickens and geese succumbed to neglect. SPCA officials were forced to euthanase 107 pigs and dozens of other animals.

The ANC statement continues: “We have been briefed by the NCOP Chairperson regarding the matter and we share her feelings that the situation is unfortunate and indeed should not have happened. We are satisfied that she is taking the necessary measures to correct the situation and to ensure it is avoided in future. The interventions include urgently appointing additional people to beef up staff at the farm and working with the SPCA to swiftly address the environmental concerns affecting the livestock.”

The ANC says it is “appalled by attempts by formations such as the DA to opportunistically use this incident to discredit the land reform programme and to project black farming as inherently a failure. This view not only seeks to undermine the important and urgent national programme of correcting the gross injustices of 1913 but also smacks of racist undertones.

“We are certain that even the established farmers we have today have made mistakes in the past which may have put the health of their livestock, the productivity of their farms and their profits at great risk. Such mistakes were never made the subject of similar media spectacle and political posturing.

“Any hurt directed at animals can never be justified. However, for the DA to wage a campaign of this nature while it had previously maintained a deafening silence when acts of brutality were committed against human beings at farms, such as abuse of farmworkers and killings of clack people apparently mistaken for baboons, screams of obscene hypocrisy and racism.

“Our resolve to speed up land redistribution process, rural development and food security in line with our commitment on the manifesto will not be deterred.” - IOL