National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is expected back in the Potchefstroom Regional Court on Wednesday, where her animal cruelty case is set to continue.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) filed charges against Modise after it found scores of dead animals on her North West farm back in 2014. The organisation has roped in Afriforum to pursue a private prosecution against the speaker.
She has pleaded not guilty to six charges of animal cruelty. Modise is accused of neglecting her property and causing 79 animals, most of them pigs to die due to lack of water and food. The SPCA said it had managed to rescue several dozen of the animals but was forced to put down more than 224 animals.
“We’ve looked at the matter ourselves in this instance and we felt that there is a strong case to be heard, there’s prima facie evidence which should allow for a prosecution to play itself out in the court and based on that we’ve taken steps to have the prosecution proceed,” Afriforum is quoted as having said.
The case first got underway on Tuesday, where two witnesses from the NSPCA Andrew Serame and Grace de Lange took the stand. De Lange testified that this was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty she had encountered in her nearly 20-year career.
She told the court that she saw pigs drinking their own and each other’s urine because there was no water or food. The lobby group’s Andrew Leask has told eNCA that they were confident they had a solid case against Modise and that it was now left in the hands of the court, to administer justice.
“We are going to present the evidence to the court, ventilate all the evidence there and allow the court to make a decision and we are confident of our case,” he said.
Leask also dismissed claims made by Modise’s supporters that the case against her was politically-motivated, saying in part:
“The converse could also be applicable, why prosecution never took place. We were tasked by the NSPCA to get involved and look at the matter because there was not prosecution and it appears that there not being a prosecution was because it is Thandi Modise, but our job is to look at the evidence, present the case and we’ll do so,” said Afriforum’s Andrew Leask