#ReclaimClifton: Protesters face charges over sheep slaughter
Cape Town – An apartheid-era act could form part of the basis of charges laid against protesters who slaughtered a sheep on Clifton Fourth Beach.
Lobby group the Black People’s National Crisis Committee, and smaller groups, including political parties, have carried out protests at the beach in the last week following allegations from beachgoers that security company Professional Protection Alternatives (PPA) ordered visitors to leave, claiming the beach would be off-limits after 8pm during the festive season.
On Friday, a sheep was slaughtered by protesters to “cleanse the beach of racist energy”, sparking outrage on social media. The SPCA said it intended to lay charges for animal cruelty against the group under the Animal Protection Act (APA) of 1962.
Meanwhile, the City said it would lay a complaint based on the National Meat Safety Act of 2000, the Integrated Waste Management By-law and the Streets and Public Places By-law (both of which are fewer than 10 years old), as well as the Environmental Health By-law, which was published in 2003.
The City could not confirm or deny whether the APA of 1962, which provides for punishment by whipping, will form part of their complaint.
Under section 2 of the act, for offences in respect of animals, any person in contravention of the act could face a fine “not exceeding R4 000 or, in default of payment, imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to such imprisonment without the option of a fine, or, where any such act or omission is of a willful and aggravated nature, to a whipping not exceeding six strokes, or to both such a fine and such a whipping, or to both such imprisonment without the option of a fine and such a whipping”.
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said the Animal Protection Act of 1962 was the latest and was used by the organisation when they intended to prosecute.
“There has been a lot of revision to the by-law and we are making headway to make necessary changes, but one of the problems is that the act pre-dates apartheid.
“We’re still going through things and deciding on the charges. Our staff were prevented from carrying out our mandate, and that was a major factor.
“We have a number of concerns, including how the animal was transported and handled, and we are trying to establish if it was slaughtered humanely,” she said.
Abraham said they would also be looking at other acts, but the APA formed the basis of the SPCA’s cases and complaints. She said they were in the process of laying a complaint and were still gathering evidence and witness accounts.
Mayor Dan Plato’s spokesperson, Greg Wagner, said the City would serve a notice on the protest organiser as the act was performed in contravention of the City’s by-laws, as well as national legislation.
“The applicable legislation that will be used in the complaint that will be laid is the National Meat Safety Act 2000, as enacted by the President of South Africa on November 1, 2000, and the associated regulations as published by the National Minister of Agriculture in 2004,” said Wagner.
“The City is also looking at the Integrated Waste Management By-law, the Streets and Public Places By-law, as well as the Environmental Health By-law, which was published in 2003.”
Wagner added that a man had asked why the City did not act at the time, but police had trumped them at the scene.
“During public order policing situations, the SAPS assumes command over all policing staff on the scene. Senior SAPS officials in charge of the situation at Clifton on the day would not allow City and SPCA staff to act to prevent the slaughter.
“The mayor has indicated that the city will be engaging with the SAPS on this matter, as well as with the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, as we cannot allow anyone to undermine City by-laws and prevent them from being implemented,” he said.
“City officials have made it clear that charges will be laid. The City is meeting with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA tomorrow to finalise our approach on this matter.”