The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said it had laid criminal charges against Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema, for alleged cruelty to a cow.
In a statement, the animal rights organisation said it was horrified after seeing the video which had gone viral and had also received numerous complaints.
The video, the NSPCA said, depicted the intended slaughter of an animal at a farm in Magaliesberg.
The slaughtering of the cow was done as part of the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations in July.
“The aforesaid video clearly shows Julius Sello Malema attempting to paralyse a cow by pithing it (i.e. attempting to pierce or sever the spinal cord of the animal so as to kill or immobilise it),” Jacques Peacock, NSPCA Public Relations and Legal Liaison said.
“It is evident from the video that Malema uses two small knives and inflicts more than 11 stabs and over 60 instances of twisting the knife into the fully conscious animal's poll.”
Peacock said Malema then allegedly repeatedly inflicted pain and caused unnecessary suffering to the animal.
“It is evident that the animal endured significant distress,” said Peacock.
Responding to the complaint, EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said: “We will deal with whatever complaints from the NSPCA as they arise.
“As of now our complete attention is on establishing our elections machinery ahead of 2024 towards total victory.”
Peacock said The Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 (“the Act”) is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to protect all animals from unnecessary pain, suffering, and cruelty when being slaughtered.
“It is essential that all individuals, including public figures and leaders, who are expected to set an example, uphold and respect these laws,” he said.
Peacock said after a thorough investigation into the contraventions depicted in the video, the NSPCA has laid criminal charges against Malema.
“The NSPCA will work closely with law enforcement and the (National) Prosecuting Authority to ensure a comprehensive investigation and prosecution of the case.
“It is crucial that those who inflict harm upon animals are held accountable for their actions, as this sends a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in our society,” Peacock said.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlende Mathe said a case was opened under the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962.
“It is being investigated by the Stock Theft and Endangered Species unit.”