Calls for banning of pit bulls back in spotlight following killing of Rustenburg worker

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Published Apr 15, 2024


The long standing debate over the banning of pit bulls in South Africa has taken centre stage once more following the brutal mauling of 40-year old Moeletsi Sedi from Rustenburg, necessitating a call for immediate action by members of the police.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has joined in the clarion call made by a Rustenburg family seeking justice after their family member was mauled to death by pit bull dogs while at his place of employment on April 6.

Cosatu General Secretary, Solly Phetoe, said on Monday the union was demanding urgent action by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and for the owner of the dogs to be held accountable for this tragic death.

Phetoe said for the union the belief was that the owner of the dogs ought to compensate the family of Sedi for this loss, but also to be charged with criminal negligence and culpable homicide.

“Action needs to be taken with regards to pit bulls. All too often the nation has been traumatised by the horrific mauling and killing of workers by pit bulls, a breed genetically bred and predisposed to being highly aggressive.Whilst owners can and must also be held accountable.

“We need to come to a decision where the breeding of this breed is banned, existing pit bulls are spade and future ownership sales and ownership prohibited. We cannot continue to sit idly by whilst each year we witness workers and children subjected to these violent deaths,” Phetoe added.

The call for the banning of pit bull breeds in the country came to the spotlight in 2022, after the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation called on the government to look into the banning of the breed following the death of a 10-year-old in Gelvandale, Gqeberha in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The foundation launched a petition on the website which is currently sitting with 139 792 signatures, called on the government to join countries like Russia, Finland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Portugal, parts of Germany, parts of China, parts of Brazil and parts of Australia, among others to either ban, or consider putting restrictions on ownership of the breed or its importation.

“It is time that the South African government takes decisive steps and imposes a complete ban on the ownership of pit bulls as domestic animals. Such a move would prevent further attacks and unnecessary deaths. We cannot continue sending out messages of condolences for something that can easily be prevented,” read the petition outline.

Following an April 2023 meeting with government to hand over the petition, they (the foundation) were informed by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza that the government was concerned over the loss of lives and injuries caused by pit bulls, and gave assurances that a solution was being looked into to resolve this issue.

However, to date there has been no announcement made on legislation or amendments to the Animal Protection Act in relation to pit bulls since then.

North West Police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said: “We can confirm that police are investigating an inquest case, also called a judicial inquiry, after an incident was reported on Saturday at a small holding outside Rustenburg. Police were called to a scene where a body of Moeletsi Moses Sedi, aged 40, was found lying on the ground. He had visible bite marks on his body, and he was declared dead by paramedics on the scene. The owner of the two pit bulls was not home during the incident. The dogs were subsequently removed by the SPCA.”

The Star

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