Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal deputy mayor and a bodyguards were this week found guilty of animal cruelty for shooting a dog, a regional court ruled.
Phumlani Ntombela, the deputy mayor of the Mthonjaneni Local Municipality, which is situated near Richards Bay, was found guilty at the Melmoth Magistrates Court this week. He was charged with animal cruelty along with his bodyguard Bongani Shabalala for shooting a dog.
Another bodyguard was acquitted of the charges.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) laid charges of animal cruelty against the trio in November 2017 when a video surfaced on social media. They were captured on camera shooting the dog.
In the video, a man with a rifle aims and shoots the dog which is tied to a fence on a pathway in a rural area. The dog, howling and flailing in agony, was shot several times with an assault rifle in front of a crowd, including children.
When the dog finally died‚ the bystanders left. A young boy walks up to the animal and‚ using a knife‚ cuts its leash.
Ntombela was handed a six months imprisonment sentence or ordered to pay a fine of R4000.
The bodyguard was handed a R2000 fine or six months imprisonment.
“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.
Wilson said the NSPCA believe the sentences are not in-line with the suffering that the dog endured, but two men, one of which who holds a high political position, now have a criminal record which is a victory in its own right,” said Meg Wilson of the NSPCA.
The NSPCA’s Inspector Mokoena travelled to Melmoth from Gauteng on seven occasions to investigate this case and appear in court to ensure that justice was served.