Hangberg farm owner says he has complied with rules

Hangberg medicinal practitioner, Xoma Christiaan Abrahams has been accused of having too many animals in a confined space.

While residents are concerned about too many animals being kept in a small space, a Hangberg man says his animals are well looked after.

The animals include four horses, two pit bull-type dog breeds, dozens of chickens and a couple of geese.

Residents, who do not want to be named but are known to Sentinel News, are concerned about so many animals being kept on the “postage sized” property. They say the horses roam the streets, damaging vehicles and eating garden vegetation.

One resident says the councillor and the SPCA know about it but the community tip-off the owner when the inspector gets nearby.

When Sentinel News first visited the area the horses were in a kraal the size of a double garage and the dogs were on short rope and chain. When we returned two weeks later the horses were grazing in a park, according to owner, herbal medicine practitioner, Xoma Christiaan Abrahams.

Initially agitated, he said it is private property. Curious to know who had made the complaint, he said the animals are treated well on what he calls the Khoi Khoi Kindy Farm, a “community lighthouse for the Hangberg Khoi community”.

Mr Abrahams said the vision of the farm is for it to be a self-sustainable home of healing and development for the Hangberg community and to preserve, celebrate and share the Khoi culture and indigenous ways.

Mr Abrahams said he provides free rides on the horses for children in the community in return for a carrot or apple for them.

He said he also teaches the children to make small gardens in abalone shells and sell them for pocket money. They can also take the vegetables home that are grown on ground alongside the farm or they can sell them. Mr Abrahams said some of these children are looking after siblings in a household where parents are abusing substances.

Pointing to his double-storey house, he said he has papers from the SPCA telling him how to look after the animals and he has complied. He has also had visits from the local Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG).

Managing director of DARG, Faustina Gardner, said the rescue group is not set up as an inspectorate. DARG provides assistance for animals from the lower-income areas of Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg.

“Our focus is on medical treatment, sterilisation, vaccinations and education,” said Ms Gardner. She said they have been to the property to speak to the owner. DARG has tried to educate the owner on how to care for his animals and explained the importance of sterilisation. Additionally, one of the dogs was brought to DARG for medical treatment due to an ear infection.

SPCA spokesperson, Belinda Abrahams said they dealt with a complaint from someone in July last year. The owner was issued with a warning, she said, and all the concerns were rectified. The dogs were placed on running chains and follow-up visits were done to ensure compliance.

Ms Abrahams said the SPCA does not act on animals roaming the streets as this is a City of Cape Town Law Enforcement by-law.

Spokesperson for Law Enforcement, Wayne Dyason, said any animal on public property must be under the control of its owner.

The City’s mayoral committee for safety and security, Mzwakhe Nqavashe said animals found roaming in areas where they present a danger to themselves and others, like roadways, could be impounded.

“And, in terms of the City’s Animal Keeping by-law, there is a limitation on the number of dogs or cats that can be kept, depending on the type and size of the property. The by-law also requires that pets be registered with the City, as well as mandatory sterilisation by the age of six months, unless an exemption is granted in terms of the by-law,” said Mr Nqavashe.

Ms Abrahams said the SPCA assisted the owner with the sterilisation of his dogs.

Ward councillor Rob Quintas said it is his understanding that the owner of the horses has the stock animals as part of an authentic/traditional Khoi-San lifestyle.

He has only received complaints from one household and actioned the SPCA to investigate. “To my knowledge the animals were not perceived to be neglected nor mistreated, nor are they free-roaming. Horses in high density urban areas are not unusual if one considers the many cart horses which are used across Cape Town,” said Mr Quintas.

Xoma Christiaan Abrahams next to the space where four horses are being kept.
The dogs were placed on running chains, said the SPCA.
The double-storey Khoi Khoi Kindy Farm on the lower slopes of Hangberg.
Both dogs have kennels and clean water.
Four horses are being kept in a kraal in Khoi Khoi Kindy Farm on the lower slopes of Hangberg.