Transnet - please don't kill cats needlessly
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Last year (2016), Cats of Durban (a volunteer organisation that looks after stray and feral cats) sterilized all the cats at the premises of Transnet Engineering in Durban, South Africa. This is a managed colony: the cats have been
there for decades, and they are fed by a small group of cat‐loving employees.
Feral cats on a property are an asset ‐ they are bio‐friendly vermin control and any problems could be overcome with humane management.
However, in February 2017, Mirriam Tenyane of Transnet head office issued a decree that cats were prohibited from Transnet properties: feeding was prohibited, and any cats should be handed over to welfare.
It was pointed out to Ms Tenyane that cats could not be 'handed over': they would be removed and euthenased. This did not concern her.
It was also pointed out to Ms Tenyane that it was cruel to withhold food from cats that had lived on the property for decades and therefore had an expectation of being fed. This also did not concern her.
However, after much discussion, Ms Tenyane agreed to amend the directive. This she did not do, and then refused to engage any further on the issue.
A few weeks later, Cats of Durban had a meeting with management and Corporate Affairs (in the person of Zodwa Mashishi) at Transnet Engineering in Durban. A promise was made, once again, to amend the directive. Again, this was not done and management refused to engage further on the issue.
On Wednesday, 22nd March, the people who feed the cats at Transnet Engineering properties were called in and told that if they continued to feed the cats, they would face disciplinary action. This means that the cats at Transnet Engineering face starvation.
The management at Transnet Engineering Durban ‐ Bongani Xulu, Sugen Govender and Elizabeth Govender ‐ have consistently acted in bad faith on this issue and have been untruthful. Two sets of promises have been
broken. Additionally, deliberately withholding food from an animal is an act of cruelty, as defined by the Animal Protection Act of 1962.
At stake is the lives of thousands of cats on Transnet properties around South Africa. In many cases these cats are managed and fed, and form a valuable part of the urban environment. If feeding is withheld the cats will starve. If the cats are removed, they will be euthenased. Either way, this directive is a threat of death hanging over the heads of thousands of cats.
Transnet is refusing any and all attempts at engagement on this issue - with us and with all other animal welfare agencies.
What we want:
1. We want the directive to be amended, so that ‐ where it is
feasible ‐ the management of cats is considered, instead of blanket eradication.
2. We would like to be given the option to advise if management of a cat colony is feasible.
3. If management is completely impossible, and removal and
euthenasia is the ONLY option, we would like to be given the opportunity to advise which agencies conduct removal and euthenasia in a humane manner. (This point has been suggested for inclusion by the NSPCA, which has also tried to engage with Transnet, with no success. The NSPCA is worried that, if cats are not either managed or humanely removed, Transnet managers might consider poisoning, as this has happened with similar situations in the past).
The directive, as it now stands, spells the death of all the cats on Transnet premises. We want that changed, so that the cats stand a chance ‐ however slim ‐ of life.
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