Modise piggery cruelty case not over

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Despite another legal setback, the National Council of SPCAs, with the assistance of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, is going ahead with its case of animal cruelty against Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise.

An NSPCA statement on 10 March said the AfriForum unit appeared in the Mmabatho High Court Appellate Division to appeal an earlier ruling vindicating Modise. That was handed down in April 2021 at the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court by Magistrate Ben Mtebele who found Modise not guilty of the criminal charges for animal cruelty brought against her.

The case was one of the worst of its kind investigated by the NSPCA, the organisation said. “The severity of the suffering of animals on her farm is etched in the memories of inspectors who responded to the scene, and now justice for those animals has been denied once again – this time because of the magistrate,” the statement reads.

The matter was taken to the High Court in North West because reasons for the Potchefstroom judgement were not given, according to the NSPCA. “Without the reasons for Magistrate Mtebele’s ruling, the Mmabatho Appeal Court was unable to hear the NSPCA’s appeal,” according to the statement, which adds it is “shocking” for a regional court magistrate to fail in his duty – this severely hampers the NSPCA appeal. It goes further reading the Judge President stated the Regional Court magistrate’s reasons were nonsensical.

AfriForum will now bring an application compelling the Potchefstroom magistrate provide reasons for the “not guilty” pronouncement. This will be followed by another hearing in the Appeal Court.