SAASIC horse deaths board of inquiry report complete


The board of inquiry appointed by SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, to investigate what appears to be dereliction of duty that saw large-scale equine euthanasia at a North West army base, completed its work in the set down 30 day period.

“The board did what it was instructed to and its report was handed to the Army Chief this week,” SA National Defence Force (SANDF), Directorate: Corporate Communications second in command Colonel Louis Kirstein said.
“The report is currently undergoing legal scrutiny with a view to both taking action or its recommendations and possibly releasing it,” he said. This was in response to a defenceWeb question wanting to know if the National Council of SPCAs would be given a copy of the report.

The national body for the prevention of cruelty to animals in South Africa entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the unit in 2013, as regarding proper care of the horses in its care. The MOU was, according to NPSCA’s Marcelle Meredith, only signed in 2016.

An inspection of the SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability (SAASIC) base at Potchefstroom earlier this year brought to light shocking conditions with insufficient feed for horses as well as what Meredith termed “a non-empathetic infrastructure that repeatedly failed the animals” led to 25 horses being put down.

At the same time, the unit and its senior, the SA Army, said the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) Military Veterinary Institute would “continuously assess conditions” under which SAASIC animals are kept. The MVI is also based in Potchefstroom.

At least 80 horses assigned to SAASIC would be moved to another military facility at Boekenhoutkloof, north of Pretoria. This was according to a directive issued by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke.

Just ahead of the board of inquiry starting its work SANDF Director: Corporate Communications, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said: “Forty horses will be left at SAASIC in Potchefstroom with the understanding that the facility will be adequate to cater for all these animals’ needs. With the help of MVI, we have enlisted extra personnel and veterinary physicians to help manage the animals and ensure the highest standard of animal breeding behaviour is maintained by the SANDF”.