Game farm lions to be killed after mauling S. African boy to death
Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
South African officials have applied to kill 10 lions that mauled a nine year old to death on a farm last month.
The Department of Agriculture made the announcement as a judge ordered a further probe into the death, delaying a court case brought by trade unions.
The BBC’s Mpho Lakaje says people in the North West Province have been angered that no-one has been charged in connection with the boy’s death.
Officials hope to go to the farm on Friday to confiscate the big cats.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) had wanted immediate court action for the farm owner’s arrest.
But it said it was pleased that an order has been issued for the lions to be killed.
Two years ago, a white farmer was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man whose remains were found in a lion enclosure.
Our correspondent says the judge said there was no urgency to the case and wanted more details into the circumstances of the death.
However, at the Mafikeng High Court, Department of Agriculture officials said they had applied for the lions to be put down – one of Cosatu’s requests.
Thumeka Ntloko, Department of Agriculture spokesperson, says action against the lions could be taken as soon as Friday.
“What we’d like to do is go and confiscate… and put down the 10 lions that killed the boy,” she told the BBC.
As they did not know which lion had actually killed the boy, they had made an application to put down all those that were in the enclosure, she said.
A small group had picketed the court demanding action to protect farm workers and their families from dangerous animals, such as lions and dogs, kept by their employers, our reporter says.
Tshepo Gearupi was killed on a visit to his aunt who lived on the farm, Cosatu spokesman Solly Phetoe told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.
According to the boy’s mother, as he was passing the kraal where the lions were kept, one of the cats jumped over the fence and dragged him into the enclosure, Mr Phetoe said.
“The funeral was only for the scalp. They couldn’t find anything else. The rest was eaten by the lions,” Mr Phetoe said.
He said they wanted the owner to be arrested and his licence must be withdrawn for the rest of his life.