Thandi Modise avoids court (for now) as deal reached in animal-abuse case
National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise says she is “quite relieved” that she won’t be forced to violate the Covid-19 shutdown regulations by crossing provincial lines to attend her now-postponed trial for animal abuse.
She said doing so was a “risk” that she was grateful she now did not need to take and urged South Africans to obey the state’s regulations “until the danger has passed”.
Modise was speaking to BusinessLIVE shortly after her lawyers and AfriForum advocate Gerrie Nel reached an agreement that she would not be required to appear at the Potchefstroom regional court in the North West on Tuesday — after having an arrest warrant issued against her, and then suspended, for failing to appear on March 24.
AfriForum is pursuing a criminal case of animal abuse against Modise linked to the 2014 discovery of 50 animal carcasses on her farm.
Nel had insisted that Modise appear to explain why she did not attend court the day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that SA would go into lockdown.
Modise’s lawyers told the court that she was meeting Ramaphosa, but AfriForum did not appear to accept that explanation.
According to AfriForum’s Natasha Venter, Modise will still be expected to appear at court on May 8 to explain why she was not at court on March 24.
Modise’s attorney, Wesley Vittee, told Business Day that “sanity has prevailed”.
He added that it was “unfortunate” that Modise had been forced to bring a high court application to ensure that she did not violate the government’s shutdown regulations.
He said that justice minister Ronald Lamola had also issued directives that only the most urgent court matters would be heard during the shutdown.