Future of SPCA’s Komani branch in the balance

Henry

The future and survival of the Animal Protection Society’s (SPBA) Komani branch in the Eastern Cape hangs in the balance.

The branch, also known as the Queenstown branch, warned in December last year that it could lose its premises at the end of January.

According to the branch management, the Enoch Mgijima municipality informed the SPCA in a notice on 19 December that their lease expires and that they must therefore vacate the premises by 31 January.

This caused a scramble for the SPCA because they had to find suitable homes in a hurry for the approximately 50 dogs and cats in their care.

Despite several attempts by RNews, the municipality did not respond to inquiries about this.

The Komani branch was also forced to seek legal aid to get clarity on the contract.

Bianca Naudé, committee member of the SPCA, confirmed that Mike Bolhuis’ private investigation company Specialized Security Services was appointed to help on Monday.

Bolhuis, himself an ardent campaigner for animal rights, immediately investigated. He pointed out that the municipality’s actions are unfair and that the Komani branch was not given enough time to negotiate the contract.

Meanwhile, matters between the Komani branch and its head office, the National Council of Animal Protection Societies (NCPA), soured due to the contract dispute.

According to a statement from the NDPV on their Facebook page, their inspectors stepped in and removed the animals from Komani.

“The NDPCA is deeply concerned about the situation that has unfolded at the Queenstown SPCA and has sent a team to investigate,” the statement said.

The statement further states: “Upon arrival, it became clear that the management committee of the Queenstown SPCA unilaterally and without calling a special general meeting with the community or consulting the NSPCA, decided to close the SPCA.”

Retrenchment processes have apparently already begun.

According to the NDPV, the branch’s management did not pay attention to the sustainable welfare of the animals and did not properly communicate with the municipality about the lease.

“Due to their failure to liaise with the municipality, the NDBV itself started discussions with the municipality. These discussions will continue during the week,” the statement said.

According to the NDVB, the Komani branch “pushed its own agenda” despite the helping hand that was extended to them on 23 December.

“They continued to place animals with third-party organizations when there were other SPCA branches in their region ready to help.”

Bolhuis confirmed on Thursday that he is still assisting the Komani branch.

“The reason for this is that the Queenstown branch feels it was unprofessional, premature and unnecessary for the NDBPA to act as it did. They also feel their name has been dragged through the mud because the allegations made against them are untrue and we are now acting on their behalf.”

He will continue to engage with the respective role players. According to Bolhuis, there are still meetings that have been called for the week so that solutions can be come up with.

“The unfortunate reality is that the animals are the victims in this dispute. It must also be taken into account that all committee members of the Queenstown SPCA are volunteers, and without any animals to look after, their branch is facing a dire situation… cooperation between the branch and the national SPCA is essential,” says Ball House

The Komani SPCA not only looks after homeless animals, but also serves as a local municipal shelter for other animals such as donkeys and cattle.