In April 2021, Magistrate Ben Mtebele, at the Potchefstroom Magistrates Court, found Thandi Modise, the current Minister of Defence, not guilty on criminal charges brought against her by the NSPCA for animal cruelty.

This was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that the NSPCA had to investigate. The severity of the suffering of the animals on Thandi Modise’s farm is etched in the memories of the Inspectors who responded to the scene, and now justice for those animals has been denied once again- this time, because of the magistrate.

Today, Afriforum who is handling the private prosecution of this case on behalf of the NSPCA, appeared before the appellate division of the High Court in Mmabatho to appeal the ruling that vindicated Ms. Modise.

Magistrate Mtebele, the presiding officer who found Ms. Modise not guilty, had failed to provide reasons for his judgement. Without the reasons for Magistrate Mtebele’s ruling, the Mmabtho Appeal Court was unable to hear the NSPCAs appeal.

It is shocking that a Regional Court Magistrate has failed in his duty to provide reasons for his judgement. This has severely hampered the NSPCAs appeal case.

The Judge President himself stated that the Regional Court Magistrate’s scant reasons were nonsensical.

An application will be brought by Afriforum’s legal team to compel the magistrate to provide reasons for finding Ms. Modise not guilty.

Thereafter, the matter will again come before the appellate division of the Mmabatho High Court.

The NSPCA extends its sincere appreciation to Advocate Gerrie Nel, Advocate Phyliss Vorster, and the remainder of the Private Prosecution Unit at Afriforum for their unwavering commitment to helping the NSPCA seek justice for the animals in this case.

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