More witnesses to testify against Thandi Modise in animal cruelty trial

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Dec 3, 2020

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Johannesburg - More witnesses are set to testify against National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise as her private prosecution case for alleged animal cruelty continues at the Potchefstroom regional court today.

Modise’s trial is being prosecuted by AfriForum’s private prosecution unit on behalf of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and is facing six counts of contravening the Animals Protection Act.

Modise is accused of having failed to procure and provide adequate feed for more than 147 pigs, more than 59 sheep, more than 11 lambs, more than 54 goats and more than 25 chickens and geese at her Tlokwe farm, that had resulted in their emaciation and death.

The trial commenced yesterday, with two witnesses detailing how the livestock was allegedly abandoned and starved until some of it died.

Reading the charge sheet, lead prosecutor, advocate Gerrie Nel said the NSPCA had been forced to euthanise more than 224 animals at the farm when it visited there in July 2014.

Constable Andrew Serame took the stand as the first witness, as the official photographer at the farm when the SAPS visited, at the invitation of the NSPCA in 2014.

NSPCA senior inspector Grace de Lange then took the stand and detailed how some of the animals were found emaciated and some had been dead during the inspection at the farm.

De Lange said the starved and dehydrated animals were forced to live with carcasses of other animals as they were entrapped in their enclosures.

De Lange said the NSPCA had not found any person who purported to be the manager of workers at the farm, which she said appeared to be abandoned.

Modise's Advocate Dali Mpofu pushed De Lange to concede that some of the animals would not have suffered as much from hunger had they not been locked inside their enclosures and instead allowed to graze the grass around the farm.

De Lange however insisted that there would have been little difference as the farm was dry during the winter season.

Modise has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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