Date: 24 December 2017 By: Andries van Zyl
The Louis Trichardt SPCA will celebrate a bittersweet Christmas this year.
On the upside, they enjoyed a year of wonderful support from the Soutpansberg community. On the down side, they still have no answer as to what to do with the carcasses of animals that had to be humanely euthanised.
As readers might be aware, the SPCA receives no government funding and solely relies on donations to do their work. For years, the Louis Trichardt SPCA has also doubled as the municipality’s “small animal pound” which the municipality is supposed to run and maintain. In recognition of the good work they do, the municipality made a decision in the early 1990s that 50% of all dog license fees paid to the municipality would be donated to the SPCA to assist them. For many years now, dog license fees are no longer being charged, so no payment is made from the municipality to the SPCA.
Until the opening of the new landfill site west of Louis Trichardt (Tshikota), the local SPCA had an arrangement with the Makhado Municipality that they were allowed to bury the carcasses of euthanised animals at the Vondeling dumping site. Since the beginning of July, after the opening of the new landfill site, the SPCA has been prohibited from burying carcasses at the new dumping site.
This sparked a lengthy correspondence between the SPCA and the Makhado Municipality’s waste-management department in an effort to get permission to have the carcasses disposed of at the new site.
The municipality was sympathetic to the SPCA’s problem, but had to inform the SPCA that the new landfill site’s permit conditions did not allow for the dumping of animal waste. The new permit, amongst other, merely prohibited the disposal of “any infectious waste (that) is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of humans or animals; in the research pertaining to this; in the manufacturing or testing of biological agents including blood, blood products and contaminated blood products, cultures, pathological wastes, sharps, human and animal anatomical wastes and isolation wastes that contain infectious substances.”
In the meantime, the animal carcasses started piling up at the SPCA. One Good Samaritan donated a small chest freezer to keep the carcasses in. This quickly filled up and the SPCA, out of its own pocket, had to buy a second, bigger, fridge at great expense. One option they had was to make use of the incinerator at the Department of Agriculture right next door to the SPCA, but this option proved too expensive as the department charged a fee of R116 per carcass that needed to be incinerated.
Weeks of correspondence dragged into months. Hitting somewhat of a dead-end, the SPCA approached their attorney, Dr Suwil Rudolph, to approach the municipality for answers and a possible solution to their problem.
In a letter dated 20 November, Rudolph reported back to the SPCA that the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), who had issued the permit, had indeed omitted the provision that allows the SPCA to dispose of carcasses at the new landfill site. He added that the municipality, upon realising that the provision had been omitted, did everything in their power to have the problem rectified. Rudolph further stated that the process of having the permit condition amended was in an advanced state and that only the municipal manager still had to give his approval. All in all, the process was said to take another month.
By Tuesday this week, just one day shy of a month, the SPCA had yet to hear any good news. Municipal spokesperson Mr Louis Bobodi did, however, confirm that the matter had been referred to LEDET for technical advice on the extension of the validity of the licence and the development of an approved disposal pit for carcasses. “At the moment, we are busy with the implementation of the advice; however, it will take time because there are certain requirements to be adhered to for the extension of the validity of the licence before anything can be done,” said Bobodi.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.