The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) investigated the case of a Kwa Zulu Natal government official and his bodyguards for the unnecessary and cruel shooting of a dog in the Melmoth area on 25 November 2017. Charges were laid and judgment was handed down in the Melmoth Magistrate’s Court on 14 May 2019.

Charges were laid by the NSPCA against Deputy Mayor Phumlani Ntombela and his body guards, Bongani Shabalala and Halalisani Biyela, but only two of the accused were found guilty.

Deputy Mayor Ntombela was found guilty and sentenced to a fine of R4000 or six months imprisonment, half of which was suspended for five years. Mr Shabalala was found guilty and sentenced to a fine of R2000 or six months imprisonment, which was suspended for five years. Both suspended sentences are on the condition that the accused are not again found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals during this time.

“The NSPCA is satisfied that the Deputy Mayor and the shooter were found guilty – it is well overdue for the people of South Africa to understand that it does not matter who you are, if you harm animals you will face the might of the law. Unfortunately sentences do not seem anywhere near adequate for the suffering that the dog endured, but two men, one of which holds a high political position, now have a criminal record” said Meg Wilson of the NSPCA.

A strong message has been sent – no one is above the law and animals need to be treated with the greatest compassion.

The NSPCA’s Inspector Mokoena travelled to Melmoth from Gauteng on seven occasions to investigate this case and appear in court to ensure that justice was served. This has cost the NSPCA in excess of R30 000.

Deputy Mayor Ntombela is a member of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the relevance is that on 10 April 2019, the party released a statement stating: “The IFP has a long and proud history of supporting the rights of animals since 1975” and further implored members of the public to support the SPCA financially to ensure its survival. The NSPCA commends the IFP’s support of animal welfare and hope that they will take the appropriate action.

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