In a ruling by the Khayelitsha Regional Court, four individuals, Luxolo Godana, Nyameko Titi, Nkosinathi Ndzendevu, and Zamani Sibusiso, have been found guilty and sentenced for their cruel act of stoning a Cape fur seal on Monwabisi Beach earlier this year.
On 09 January 2023, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA was alerted to a harrowing scene on Monwabisi Beach. At around 6pm, a group of men were spotted attempting to kill an adult Cape fur seal by hurling large rocks at the trapped and terrified animal. Fortunately, swift intervention by a City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Officer prevented further harm. The officer detained the suspects until SPCA Inspector Werner Taljaard and trainee inspector Eugene Links arrived.
Due to the gruesome injuries it suffered, including severe facial and skull fractures, the seal was promptly transported to a 24-hour veterinary clinic where, sadly, it had to be euthanized. The seal’s mouth bled profusely, one eye was crushed, and most of its teeth had been violently broken off.
Criminal Charges by SPCA
The accused faced animal cruelty charges under the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. They were also charged with hunting a protected species without a permit, violating the Threatened or Protected Marine Species (ToPS) Regulations of 2017 and the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) 10 of 2004.
The Khayelitsha Regional Court handed down a sentence of six years imprisonment, suspended for five years, contingent upon several conditions. A special thanks to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) for their assistance with the criminal prosecution.
The conditions as part of the sentence included:
- Avoid convictions under sections of the National Environment Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004.
- Write and submit a 500-word essay on marine mammals, highlighting the importance of wildlife and education for preservation, drawing from the book “Marine Mammals: A guide to the whales, dolphins and seals of Southern Africa and Southern Oceans” by Chris and Mathilda Stuart.
- Share this essay on their Facebook walls and submit to the Clerk of Court Khayelitsha by specified deadlines.
- Undertake 18 months of community service, clocking a minimum of 16 hours monthly at SPCA-designated branches.
- Make consistent financial contributions totalling R2000 each to the SPCA.
Reacting to the verdict, Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA said, “We welcome this judgement and will ensure the convicts abide by the court’s mandate. Our aim is to teach these individuals compassion, a value crucial for the wellbeing of society and its creatures.”
Magistrate D Francke, presiding over the case, expressed stern sentiments about the culprits. “These four young men committed a grievous offense. Facing this Court, it’s evident they fail to grasp the gravity of their actions.”
The incident serves as a bleak reminder of the urgent need for increased awareness and education on animal rights and welfare.
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We are appealing to our donors to please make a donation to assist us in ensuring justice is served for this seal that was subjected to the most inhumane torture and suffering.
The SPCA receives no funding from the government and relies on donations from the public in order to function.
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