Speaking earlier this weekend, AfriForum’s Ernst Roets indicated that his organisation was “very likely” to oppose any urgent bid by Modise to postpone her trial. Roets maintained that, while AfriForum respected government’s shutdown regulations, the organisation was of the view that Modise was “using the lockdown as an excuse” to not attend the trial.
“This current dilemma is completely of her [Modise’s] own doing,” Roets said, after pointing out that Modise’s lawyer had asked that the case against her be postponed until Tuesday, a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that a shutdown would be implemented.
The regulations governing that shutdown, prohibiting travel between provinces, were however only gazetted days later.
Letters obtained by Business Day show that Modise’s urgent court bid follows a standoff between Modise’s lawyers and well-known former state advocate Gerrie Nel, who is leading AfriForum’s private prosecution against Modise on behalf of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).
Modise faces charges linked to the discovery of the carcasses of more than 50 pigs and other animals on her farm in Modderfontein, in the North West province, in 2014. At the time, media reports claimed the starving pigs had eaten each other.