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30 lions left to die after suffering severe burns at Free State farm (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES)

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Staff Reporter

A captive lion breeder in the Glen farming area, just outside Bloemfontein, is being sued by the SPCA for animal negligence after 30 lions suffered severe burns following a veld fire and had to be put down to save them from continued pain.

The farmer cannot be named at this stage as the matter is yet to be heard in court.

SPCA Bloemfontein senior inspector Reinet Meyer told The Free Stater by telephone that the owner showed very little care for the lions and they had to take the legal route to access the farm.

“He didn’t seem to be interested in the lions anymore,” said a concerned Meyer.

“Maybe it’s because they are of no value to him since captive lion breeding and the exporting of lion bones is no longer allowed in the country,” she added.

In May this year, the government indicated that it would ban captive lion facilities and the trade in lion bones.

This means the commercial use of captive lions for trophy hunting and the sale of their body parts would be outlawed.

Independent estimates say between 8 000 and 12 000 lions were held in captive facilities in South Africa at the peak of the trade.

Meyer said in an earlier statement they were shocked at the state of the lions when they finally obtained a warrant to enter the premises.

She said five days after the fire, the owner had failed to administer any medical treatment.

“What we found shocked us to the bone,” said Meyer.

“As we entered the lion camps, we could only see the destruction left behind by the torturing flames. We arrived at the lion enclosures and our hearts broke . . .

“We saw that the lions couldn’t escape the blazing fires and the inhalation of smothering fumes were evident. The lions didn’t move. They all laid in one spot with their paws turned upwards. Their fragile bodies were burnt, and their faces carried the devastating scars of the flames (days earlier).”

Meyer said three male lions in one of the camps couldn’t stand at all as they kept collapsing each time they tried to get up.

“The paw pads on the other lions were burned off and they had large blisters underneath the paws,” she said.

“Blood was oozing from the wounds. The lions’ faces were burnt and they couldn’t eat because of blisters in their mouths.

“The lions had severe smoke inhalation damage. The damage was so severe to the lungs that the lions started to drown in their blood.  The heat of the fire caused a lion’s eyes to burst.”

The camps, according to Meyer, were in a horrible condition.

There was no electric fence, the structure poles were burnt down and the fence was hanging on a thread with open gaps and holes.

“These lions could have easily escaped, but not even one escaped. They were too broken, too weak,” she said.

“We quickly realised that the owner didn’t care about the lions anymore. He was not willing to invest financially in them and had spent nothing to ensure the welfare of these cats. The owner no longer made provisions for food for the lions.”

“If cattle or any wildlife animal died in the area the farmworkers were sent to collect the meet to feed the lions. They would also get a few dead chickens from a nearby poultry farm.”

Meyer believes the lions went without food for several days.

She said a single cow could hardly feed 59 lions and the three tigers at the farm.

The chickens were hardly enough for just one enclosure.

“These lions were underweight with a very weak and low body score. One could see the rib, pelvic and vertebrae bones,” said Meyer.

“I have never been this angry in my 30 years at the Bloemfontein SPCA . . . misuse of our animals for entertainment like hunting, bone trade, poaching, circus tricks, cub petting or keeping them in zoos or as pets . . . must stop.

“We should leave these animals to be free in the wild without any human contact . . . these lions were captive, and they burned, these lions were never free.”

She said the camps were too small for the lions and were littered with faeces and old carcasses because no one enters the enclosures to clean.

In one incident, three of the lions mutilated and killed their brother within five minutes and ate him because they were and are starving.

The SPCA is now appealing for support so they can look after the remaining lions as well as neglected animals elsewhere.

Well-wishers can deposit funds into:

ABSA Savings Account.

Account name: BFN Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Account number: 927 910 2644

Branch code: 632 005

Reference: Lions

Or they can send an SMS to 42646 with the word Bloemspca (SMS cost R30).

Alternatively, visit www.bloemfonteinspca.co.za and click on the donate button to make an easy payment – reference: Lions.

HORROR . . . The SPCA was shocked at the state of the lions

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Two Free State women allegedly killed by ‘druggie’ sons

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SHOCKING MURDER . . . A 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs

Two women from Mangaung have allegedly been attacked and killed in two separate incidents by their own sons believed to be using drugs.

In the latest incident which happened in Kagisanong along Masike Street at the weekend, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs.

Police spokesperson for Mangaung Metro Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in the woman died on the scene from the stab wounds.

“The victim had visible multiple stab wounds on the head and body,” he said, adding the matter was reported by the brother to the deceased, who was also attacked by the suspect who is now in police custody.

Covane said the complainant informed the police that the suspect is believed to be using drugs and had asked his now deceased mother for money to buy drugs but she told him that she didn’t have money.

“The suspect got angry, went out of the house, came back with a piece of iron and stabbed the deceased with it several times,” he explained.

“When he was done, he turned to the complainant and also stabbed him on the chest.”

Covane said the uncle survived the attack but the daring suspect locked them inside the house and had to wait until Friday morning to get help.

The suspect was later traced and arrested by the police.
He is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court this Monday facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

In a similar case, a 42-year-old man will be applying for bail at the Botshabelo Magistrates Court on the same day after allegedly strangling to death his 71-year-old mother last Sunday, August 7, 2022 in the E-Section, Botshabelo.

The suspect is also said to history of substance abuse.

Free State acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Modise, condemned the killing of the two elderly women. – Staff Reporter

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Magashule loses ConCourt bid to reverse ANC suspension

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APPLICATION DISMISSED . . . The Constitutional Court says Ace Magashule has no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension as ANC secretary-general

Former Free State premier Ace Magashule has lost his latest court bid to have his suspension as ANC secretary-general lifted.

He had approached the Constitutional Court seeking to have his temporary ousting from Luthuli House reversed.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the apex court said Magashule had no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that, although there are no reasonable prospects of success on the merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal,” the court said.

Magashule first approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to challenge his suspension, but the matter was dismissed with costs.

He subsequently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed the application in January 2022, prompting him to take up his case with the Constitutional Court.

Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The rule requires ANC members facing criminal charges to step aside while their court cases are under way.

Magashule is facing corruption charges linked to the Free State asbestos corruption scandal. – Staff Reporter

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail

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THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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