The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has reached out to the Northwest Province Police Commissioner to force detectives investigating Defense Forces (SANDF) cases to do their job.
AfriForum represents the organization.
In a letter viewed by TimesLIVE, AfriForum’s private attorney general, Gerrie Nel, has filed a complaint with the Office of the North West Commissioner, alleging a “lacklustre ” Investigation by the Potchefstroom SAPS alleges.
He said it appeared the defendants were imposing their will on senior detectives and urged the Bureau to intervene.
The complaint relates focused on two matters.
In May 2018, the NSPCA established charges against the SANDF for gross neglect of horses at the SA Army Specialist Infantry Capability (SAASIC) unit in Potchefstroom. They had to euthanize 25 horses to prevent further suffering. They took over 69 other horses, which they said in a statement were in a severely impaired condition.
In January 2019, the NSPCA claims their inspectors witnessed the SAASIC unit “violently kicking and hitting their horses during an inspection”. The horses were also removed, with two of them having to be euthanized due to their condition. The company then filed further charges against SANDF.
In his complaint, Nel likened the case to “the tail that wags the dog”.
“We conclude that that this case can be compared to the well-known idiom…since it appears to be a case in which the defendants impose their will on experienced detectives who appear unable to bring the investigation to a conclusion.”
He said the police couldn’t claim the NSPCA opened the cases and let them do all the hard work because the NSPCA inspectors turned in their own case files.
“We show off that these files were well constructed and contained more than sufficient facts which contributed materially to the original complaint and its probative value. In addition, our client has offered and will continue to offer any assistance to the detectives.”
In August, the NSPCA said it followed up the cases “religiously.”
“Every time we face a new hurdle as to why the cases have not yet gone to court. The NSPCA questions whether this case will ever be taken seriously by the SANDF, whose lack of cooperation is a clear sign of their disinterest in animal welfare and the law.”
They said multiple attempts to reach investigators resulted in them sending a senior inspector to Potchefstroom to in person follow up.
p>”At that time we were informed that both files were allegedly missing.”
They say they were misinformed by the police that the files had been delivered to the court.
According to their testimony, they were told by the Detective Commander at Potchefstroom that the Military Police had failed to secure on file and submit the outstanding details of the identified SANDF individuals.
At the time they reported, the investigating officer was instructed to return to court and report these developments to the Obe rprosecutor and request that SAPS 205 be issued to serve the nati Well, Nel said a colonel approached the NSPCA on March 3rd to introduce himself as the new investigating officer.
“Although almost four years after the first complaint, they were grateful that it appeared that senior officials would take over the investigation. In another positive step, he (the Colonel) also requested assistance from our customers regarding access to certain witnesses, whereupon we reached out to him and offered any assistance needed.”
Nel blamed the Colonel and another was involved in the case because he had apparently refused to deal with the complaint.
He said after they were asked to help with the case, on April 14, On March 11, they invited the new investigating officer to a meeting, but received no response.
On April 4, they wrote again, “affirming that the investigation, dating back to 2018, remains incomplete”.
He said the correspondence was shared with Eileen Viljoen, the chief prosecutor in Potchefstroom, who wrote to the SAPS that day asking them to respond to AfriForum.
Nel said that these Email was also ignored.
“We repeat n that we are acting on behalf of the complainant and that the refusal to engage after assistance has been requested is unexplainable and a willful failure to communicate c with the complainant.
“We must endure the embarrassment to explain to the citizens you purport to serve why senior officials simply ignore correspondence or refuse to engage in affairs,” Nel wrote in his complaint to SAPS.
TimesLIVE is awaiting a response from SANDF and will update the article accordingly.