After many lengthy court appearances by the NSPCA, the Springs Magistrates Court found Mr Victor Tshabalala guilty of animal cruelty.
In 2020, Inspector Kevin Khumalo, formerly of the NSPCA Farm Animal Protection Unit, found sheep and cattle in unacceptable conditions on Tshabalala’s farm in Springs, east of Johannesburg. In addition to the conditions of the animals, they had no protection from adverse weather nor were they provided with potable water or feed of any kind. One of the bulls and one of the sheep were unable to walk properly and it was evident that no veterinary attention was procured for either of these animals.
After obtaining a court order and returning to the farm, the bull in question was nowhere to be found. After investigation by the NSPCA, the bull was found hidden on an adjoining farm. Both animals had to be humanely relieved of their suffering and charges of animal cruelty were subsequently registered against Mr Tshabalala.
The state initially declined to prosecute the matter citing “no prospect of a successful prosecution”, but through sheer determination to seek justice for these animals, the NSPCA was successful in having the case reinstated.
Mr Tshabalala, who originally pleaded not guilty, was found guilty by the Springs Magistrates Court in November 2023 for contravening Section 2 (1)(a) and Section 8 (4) of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 and sentenced to a fine of R10 000-00 or 10 months’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of contravening these Sections of the Animals Protection Act during the period of suspension.
Whilst the NSPCA would have preferred a different sentencing, it applauds the decision by the prosecuting authority, which sends a clear message that animal cruelty is a serious and intolerable offence but most notably, the convict in this matter, Mr Tshabalala, now has a criminal record.
Every animal is worthy of protection, irrespective of the reason for them being kept or raised, and this is a shining example that the NSPCA will fight for any compromised or maltreated animal and will continue advocating on behalf of all animals.