Guilty! Four sentenced in donkey horror case


Sougson Manasseh, Madhihwa Mjasha, Target Murima, and Amoni Chirwa were sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine in the Polokwane Magistrates Court on 25 October 2016. They had admitted guilt to criminal charges for cruelty to animals laid in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962. All are foreign nationals who were additionally sentenced to 2 months imprisonment to run concurrently, for residing illegally in South Africa.

A strong message has been relayed that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

The NSPCA applauds the Magistrate and the State Prosecutor who acted swiftly and have been instrumental in ensuring justice was served.

Criminal charges were laid in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 against these men after a vehicle was intercepted by personnel from the Polokwane SPCA in late September. It was traveling from Limpopo and apparently on its way to an abattoir in Randfontein, Gauteng, with 41 donkeys loaded onto it. Adult males, females and foals were all in the same compartment with most of the animals in a state of collapse; crushed, dead or dying. Humane euthanasia was undertaken to end the suffering of the severely compromised animals. The NSPCA expressed horror at the manner in which these donkeys were handled and transported, resulting in this unbelievable suffering.

Tragically this is not an isolated issue, and the NSPCA continues to pursue leads to uncover and handle further instances of donkeys being being stolen and abused for transportation, general neglected, or slaughtered in an unacceptable manner for the trade in donkey hide for Chinese traditional medicine.  We remain gravely concerned as the practice is widespread and growing.

Public help is needed to enable the NSPCA to take action in cases of this kind. Anyone with information of any kind may contact us via You may remain anonymous, but the more information you are able to give, the more helpful it will be in tracking down and bringing to justice those involved in this despicable, horrendous and cruel trade.


(Featured image courtesy Kim Bartlett – Animal People, Inc.)

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The NSPCA was founded in 1955 as the Federation of SPCAs to provide a forum to bring uniformity to welfare legislation and standards. The SPCAs in South Africa are governed by the SPCA Act 169 of 1993 which is administered by the NSPCA, constituting us as a statutory body. Inspectors are authorised in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 and the Performing Animals Protection Act No. 24 of 1935 with the SPCA movement collectively undertaking over 90% of all animal welfare investigations and prosecutions in South Africa. The NSPCA operates on a national basis with a team of dedicated Inspectors, who are specialists in their fields. We work tirelessly to protect animals from neglect and abuse and enforce the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 when deliberate cruelty takes place. The lives of tens of thousands of animals are improved because of our passion, our intervention, and our commitment to bring about long-term positive change for farmed animals, wildlife, research animals, domestics and animals used in entertainment and sport. In a country that spans over a million square kilometres, there are areas where there is no SPCA, no animal welfare organisations and no veterinary services. The NSPCA plays a vital role in bringing extraordinary support to these people and their animals. Click to see author's profile.

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