Residents of Jeppes Reef near the Matsamo border with Swaziland last Sunday gathered to kill and eat a baboon which was found wandering on the streets during lockdown.
When pictures of the slaughter emerged on social media, it prompted Mpumalanga MEC for community safety, security & liaison Gabisile Shabalala to warn the community that they were breaking the lockdown regulations as well as the law.
“This now wrong; as the department we condemn the behaviour of some communities [together] with the one in Nkomazi [municipality] where people decided to kill an animal in large numbers,” Shabalala said.
“We are warning against such gatherings because that is against the lockdown regulations [about] where people should now gather, as we are trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Again, it’s criminal to even kill an animal just because they have seen it in the community. It is deeply regrettable that our people would still gather in such a manner. We are appealing [to them] to work with us and stay at home during this difficult phase. To save the public, the police should act against such behaviour,” Shabalala added.
One community member who didn’t want to be named told Sowetan that they initially thought the baboon was from a certain house.
“People came in large numbers and we were told that it [the baboon] was from a person whom was suspected to be casting spells using it. But some people decided to burn and eat it because they said that was meat,” said the community member.