Thandi Modise's animal cruelty case: Here's what you need to know

23 July 2019 - 11:48 By Unathi Nkanjeni
National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise appeared in the Potchefstroom regional court on Monday to face animal cruelty charges. He court case has been postponed to October 30.
National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise appeared in the Potchefstroom regional court on Monday to face animal cruelty charges. He court case has been postponed to October 30.
Image: Trevor Samson/Business Day

National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise's court case has been postponed to October 30.

She appeared in the Potchefstroom regional court on Monday to face animal cruelty charges that were laid against her by AfriForum in 2018.


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Here's what you need to know about the case:

Farm of "horror"

Modise's court case dates back to 2014 when the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) obtained a warrant to inspect animals on a farm in the North West province belonging to her. The organisation received a tip-off that animals on the property had been abandoned.

Andries Venter, inspector in the NSPCA's farm animal unit, said it was the worst case of farm animal cruelty he had seen in 20 years with the NSPCA.

Why AfriForum took Modise to court

TimesLIVE reported that NSPCA approached AfriForum for assistance after the discovery of animal carcasses. Investigators for the lobby group said dozens of animals were dead. 

The NSPCA later revealed that 79 animals died, including 58 pigs. It managed to save 30 sheep and goats, nine geese and 16 chickens.

Modise's defence

In her defence at the time, Modise said her farm manager had left to tend to a family emergency.

However, Sunday Times reported that the sole worker taking care of the farm had left the animals to die because he and his family allegedly faced starvation if they stayed there.

TimesLIVE reported in July that Modise believed the timing and motives behind AfriForum's decision to privately prosecute her for alleged animal cruelty were "curious".

Case postponed

On Monday, in a statement, AfriForum said the case was postponed to October 30 for Modise to plead to the charges.

AfriForum's Kallie Kriel said that NPA's decision not to prosecute Modise, even though there was a strong case against her, was a serious breach of the principle of equality before the law.

"Modise cannot be treated differently from other citizens by the NPA simply because she occupies an important political position. AfriForum's private prosecution unit was particularly established to intervene in cases such as this of Modise," he said.


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