Mthonjaneni Local Municipality deputy mayor Phumlani Ntombela and his bodyguard Bongani Shabalala have been found guilty of shooting a dog, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) said on Friday.
The incident took place in the Melmoth area in November 2017.
Ntombela was sentenced to a fine of R4,000 or six months’ imprisonment, half of which was suspended for five years. Shabalala (who shot the dog) was sentenced to a fine of R2,000 or six months’ imprisonment, suspended for five years.
The judgment was handed down on Tuesday. Another one of Ntombela’s bodyguards was found not guilty.
The suspended sentences are both on condition that the men are not again found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
“The NSPCA is satisfied that the Deputy Mayor and the shooter were found guilty – it is well overdue for the people of South Africa to understand that it does not matter who you are, if you harm animals you will face the might of the law,” said NSPCA spokesperson, Meg Wilson.
“Unfortunately, sentences do not seem anywhere near adequate for the suffering that the dog endured, but two men, one of which holds a high political position, now have a criminal record,” said Wilson.
The NSPCA said the case cost it in excess of R30,000.
Ntombela is an Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) member. This was relevant, said the NSPCA, because the party released a statement in April saying that it had a “long and proud history of supporting the rights of animals” since its founding. The party’s same statement “implored members of the public to support the [NSPCA] financially to ensure its survival”.
The NSPCA commended the IFP’s support of animal welfare and said they hoped it would take appropriate action in relation to the case.
– African News Agency (ANA)