It doesn’t appear to get better at the Potchefstroom-headquartered SA Army Specialist Infantry Capability (SAASIC) unit with another seven horses removed from the unit and two of them having to be euthanased.
This follows the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCAs) putting down 25 horses and then removing another 69 from the unit as well as an official SA Army board of inquiry appointed to investigate SAASIC.
NPSCA executive director Marcelle Meredith said inspectors were at the Potchefstroom base to remove horses and “as they were leaving they observed SAASIC members excessively kicking and beating the horses they were riding. The NSPCA inspectors immediately intervened and stopped all equine activities at the Potchefstroom base”. A warrant was obtained and seven horses were taken from the base.
“They all underwent veterinary assessments and two had to be euthanased.”
She said it was “especially concerning” SAASIC members knew the NSPCA was on base and abuse still took place.
“This appears to be a daily occurrence and another indication of how horses are treated by SAASIC in general. No animal should be subject to such brutal treatment,” she said, adding animal cruelty charges had again been laid against the SANDF.
The NSPCA currently has 74 SAASIC horses in its care.
As far as can be ascertained the board of inquiry completed its work within the 30 day timeframe set for it by SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam. He has the report and was, last officially heard, having it checked over by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) legal services. There was no indication at the time of publishing whether the report or its recommendations will be made public.
According to the SANDF horses will be moved from Potchefstroom to a site north of Pretoria where they will be properly cared for with the assistance of the Military Veterinary Institute (MVI). Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, SANDF Director: Corporate Communications, told defenceWeb in June that 40 horses would remain at the Potchefstroom base “with the understanding the facility will be adequate to care for all the animals’ needs”. He did not give a timeframe for either the movement of horses to Boekenhoutkloof/Rooiwal or for changes to be implemented at the Potchefstroom base.