Cops and cat­tle

SAPS mem­bers own some strays roam­ing streets, AgriEC re­veals

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

The re­luc­tance of po­lice to act against the own­ers of stray­ing un­marked cat­tle in Nd­lambe has been as­cribed to the fact that some SAPS mem­bers are them­selves own­ers of such stray­ing beasts.

A Bathurst po­lice­man, Sergeant Mzamo Bryan San­som, has been ousted as the owner of fre­quently stray­ing cat­tle in the vil­lage after an in­ci­dent last year in which seven of his an­i­mals wan­dered into the Bathurst Show­grounds – and im­pound­ment pro­ce­dures were ini­ti­ated.

Agri EC rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brent McNa­mara pro­vided Talk of the Town with the in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a sworn af­fi­davit by San­som, fol­low­ing San­som’s fail­ure to pay for the trans­port costs of the truck sent to take his cat­tle to the mu­nic­i­pal pound.

McNa­mara re­sorted to a civil claim to re­cover the costs – R1,836 – and re­cently got a de­fault judg­ment against San­som in the Port Al­fred mag­is­trate’s court and a war­rant of ex­e­cu­tion against San­som to at­tach prop­erty to re­cover the debt owed.

Po­lice have re­fused to re­spond to TotT’s ques­tions about the is­sue, claim­ing it was a pri­vate mat­ter be­tween McNa­mara and Port Al­fred clus­ter com­man­der Bri­gadier Mor­gan Goven­der.

Ex­plain­ing that the prob­lem went be­yond San­som, Bathurst Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety (BAS) pres­i­dent Danny Wepener said there were at least two other po­lice­men – whose names are known to TotT – who own stray­ing beasts. One owns both cat­tle and goats which en­ter the Bathurst Show­grounds, and an­other owns cat­tle that have wan­dered into the prop­erty of the St Fran­cis Health Cen­tre.

McNa­mara, who was vice-pres­i­dent of the BAS at the time of the in­ci­dent with San­som’s cat­tle, said he had ar­ranged for im­pound­ment of the beasts after re­ceiv­ing a call from BAS of­fice staff at the Bathurst Show­grounds on Septem­ber 8 last year that a group of stray cat­tle had again come in through the main en­trance of the show­grounds.

“This same group of cat­tle reg­u­larly stray onto pub­lic roads in the area and en­ter pri­vate prop­erty. These cat­tle, apart from the ob­vi­ous dan­ger posed to traf­fic, cause dam­age and are an ex­treme nui­sance,” McNa­mara said.

He cited SAPS in­ci­dent re­port num­bers from pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions these strays had been re­ported at the Bathurst po­lice sta­tion.

McNa­mara had also pre­vi­ously in­structed BSA staff to ask the Bathurst sta­tion com­man­der for SAPS to es­tab­lish the own­er­ship of such strays and is­sue an ad­mis­sion of guilt fine (called a J534) to the own­ers for their an­i­mals stray­ing and for non-com­pli­ance with the An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Act (AIDA).

At the time, the Bathurst sta­tion com­man­der claimed not to know who the an­i­mals be­longed to.

At the Septem­ber 8 in­ci­dent, McNa­mara or­gan­ised trans­port to re­move the cat­tle to the Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal Pound in Alexan­dria.

“The mu­nic­i­pal truck was not avail­able, so I con­tracted Sky­lark Lo­gis­tics to trans­port the an­i­mals at 1.41pm. While on route to the show­grounds, I was again con­tacted by the BAS staff at 2.20pm, and in­formed that some­body had ar­rived, and was claim­ing that the cat­tle were his. It was re­ported to me that he de­manded their im­me­di­ate re­turn and adopted a threat­en­ing at­ti­tude and was ver­bally abu­sive,” McNa­mara said.

He told BAS staff to con­tact the Bathurst SAPS for as­sis­tance and he also called Cap­tain Han­sie Slab­bert at the Port Al­fred Clus­ter Of­fice and in­formed him of the sit­u­a­tion.

By the time McNa­mara ar­rived at the show­grounds, he said the Bathurst sta­tion com­man­der was al­ready at the scene.

“While we were mov­ing the cat­tle to the load­ing ramp, a per­son shouted to me from out­side the fence, and de­manded to know what I was do­ing with his cat­tle. I ap­proached him, in­tro­duced my­self and in­formed him who I was, and that I was re­mov­ing the seven un­marked cat­tle that had strayed into the show­ground premises. He stated that the cat­tle were his and de­manded their im­me­di­ate re­turn,” McNa­mara said.

“I in­formed him that as the cat­tle were not marked in ac­cor­dance with the AIDA, and in terms of the Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Im­pound­ment By­laws, I was re­mov­ing the an­i­mals to the pound.

“While we were busy load­ing the an­i­mals and in the pres­ence of the sta­tion com­man­der of the Bathurst SAPS, this per­son and a num­ber of peo­ple with him, threat­ened the staff load­ing, and prevented me from load­ing the an­i­mals. I re­quested the cap­tain in at­ten­dance to as­sist and in­struct this per­son to cease with his ac­tions and va­cate the BAS prop­erty. The cap­tain did noth­ing but watch, and then ap­par­ently con­tacted Capt Slab­bert.”

McNa­mara said it was at that point that he es­tab­lished that the per­son claim­ing to be the owner was Sgt San­som, from the Bathurst SAPS.

Re­ceiv­ing no help from the sta­tion com­man­der, McNa­mara again con­tacted Slab­bert and re­quested po­lice as­sis­tance. Slab­bert’s re­sponse was that as own­er­ship had been es­tab­lished, there was no need to send the an­i­mals to the pound.

“I then in­formed him that none of the an­i­mals were marked in terms of AIDA, and as such apart from Sgt San­som’s ver­bal claims, own­er­ship had not been es­tab­lished. I also en­quired as to who was now go­ing to pay the associated trans­port costs if the an­i­mals were re­leased.”

Slab­bert even­tu­ally pro­posed that San­som make a sworn af­fi­davit as to own­er­ship and in which he would agree to pay the costs in­curred for the truck and that the SAPS would then is­sue the ap­pro­pri­ate ad­mis­sion of guilt fines.

McNa­mara agreed, even though he felt it was not the cor­rect way to han­dle the mat­ter.

San­som re­sisted the idea of ac­cept­ing li­a­bil­ity for the trans­port costs, un­til three other po­lice­men ar­rived, in­clud­ing a WO Loub­ser, who told him there would be no fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the ad­mis­sion of guilt fine de­tails pro­vided to McNa­mara, San­som was is­sued with a fine of R3,500 for al­low­ing an­i­mals to stray, and R600 for fail­ing to mark an­i­mals. To date, it is not known what fines San­som paid, if any, as the po­lice would not re­veal that in­for­ma­tion.

“As the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of or­gan­ised agri­cul­ture at the Sub Joints meet­ing [with SAPS], I have on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions raised the con­cern that in our opin­ion some SAPS mem­bers who are keep­ing cat­tle within the Nd­lambe area, in con­tra­ven­tion of the ap­pli­ca­ble by­laws and the AIDA, as well as al­low­ing them to stray, are part of the prob­lem. This is in my per­sonal opin­ion of­ten the rea­son why no ac­tion is taken by the SAPS when stray cat­tle and goats are re­ported,” McNa­mara said.

Wepener said the prob­lem of stray cat­tle and goats en­ter­ing the Bathurst Show­grounds was on­go­ing.

TotT’s ques­tions to Brig Goven­der and pro­vin­cial SAPS went unan­swered.

The only re­sponse TotT re­ceived was from Cap­tain Mali Goven­der, who said it was “not the pol­icy of the SAPS to dis­cuss cor­re­spon­dence and


ON­GO­ING PROB­LEM: Cat­tle be­long­ing to Bathurst po­lice­man Sergeant Mzamo Bryan San­som strayed into the Bathurst Show­grounds last year, re­sult­ing in a con­fronta­tion when im­pound­ment pro­ce­dures were ini­ti­ated

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