Cattle owner lashes out after N1 slaughter

Wimpie Wethmar has described horrific scenes of how the community members hacked the cattle to death.

FILE: A large crowd slaughtered almost 100 cattle after stoning a vehicle transporting them. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The owner of the cattle slaughtered by a crowd on the N1 near Grasmere has lashed out at the local community, saying the incident was a gruesome, terrible free-for-all.

A truck overturned on the highway on Tuesday after a group stoned the vehicle transporting almost 100 cattle which then caused the truck to overturn.

A large crowd, armed with knives and buckets, slaughtered the animals with some cattle already suffering from broken limbs.

Chalmar Beef chief executive Wimpie Wethmar has described horrific scenes of how the community members hacked the cattle to death but says this is a much bigger problem.

"Let's get back to the stock theft issue that people are not aware of. I have come across cattle that have been lying in the grass for three days, they can't move because their tendons have been cut off. That happens on a regular basis throughout this country."

He said the truck driver and his assistant are in a serious condition in hospital after community members pelted their vehicle with bricks.

Wethmar said the police have to take stronger action.

"If that brick went through the window and the driver got killed, it would have been a murder case. They are in hospital and will be for a number of days."

He said trucks are usually soft targets and he is now considering arranging new routes for their drivers following the incident.

Wethmar said it is the first time one of his trucks has been targeted by what he has described as common criminality.

Earlier, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said it won't press charges against the group of people responsible.

The NSPCA's Andries Venter said although they want to pursue charges, it's difficult to identify any of the people involved in the incident.

Venter said they've decided to close the case.

The incident has caused outraged among members of the public, including a senior NSPCA inspector on the scene, who labelled those involved in the act as "vultures stealing meat".