Thandi Modise was, on Thursday found not guilty of charges of cruelty to animals by a court in the North West. The Potchefstroom Regional Court agreed with Modise’s lawyer that the former North West Premier could not be held responsible for the death of the many animals that were on her farm due to starvation.
The charges stem from about fifty pigs and a number of other animals that either died of starvation or had to be put down as a result of the state that they were in when inspectors of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) arrived to inspect the farm. This happened in 2014 when Modise was still the premier of the province. Following a Section 174 application by Modise’s lawyer, Mr. Dali Mpofu, the court ruled that Thandi Modise could not be held responsible for what happened on the farm. If anything, the court found, the person that had to be held responsible for the demise of the animals was the man who had been hired to cater to the animals. The man, who was not named, is said to have left the farm owing to hunger since he had not been paid.
Modise, who is the Speaker of the National Assembly and also a member of the African National Congress (ANC), was facing six counts of cruelty to animals which emanated from pigs, sheep, geese, and chickens that were already dead when the SPCA inspectors arrived to inspect the farm. It is further reported that an additional 224 animals had to be put down as they were deemed too emaciated to survive.
The case against the Speaker of Parliament was being prosecuted by AfriForum’s Private Prosecutions Unit on behalf of the NSPCA. Leading the prosecution team was Gerrie Nel, who is better known as the Bulldog and has led many high-profile cases such as that of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorious.