S. African game farm where lions killed boy had expired permit

July 09 2007 at 02:39PM

The fate of 10 lions who killed a nine-year-old boy on a farm near Vryburg in North West will be known soon, the provincial agriculture department said on Monday.

Spokesperson Lesego Mcwango said a report compiled on the incident would be presented to the agriculture MEC, Paul Mogotle, who will then determine the way forward.

The report, detailing findings of a three-week investigation was not seen by the MEC on Saturday, when the lions were supposed to be put down.

Agriculture department officials, sent to kill the lions were denied access to the farm on Saturday, according to reports.

“We needed time to present the case to the MEC… the report will be presented today [Monday],” Mcwango told Sapa.

She could not divulge the contents of the report.

Tshepo Gaorupi apparently put his hand through a gap near the gate of the lion enclosure and one of the lions grabbed him and pulled him into the camp.

Only a small piece of the boy’s skull remained after the incident on June 17.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the North West on Monday condemned “the attitude of the MEC of Agriculture and the white racist official who advised him to cancel and withdraw the decision to kill the ten lions”.

“Our position is that those lions are not more important than the life of Tshepo Gaorupi. The withdrawal indicates to the people of North West that the MEC and its white official advisors respect the lives of lions more than the lives of a human being who was mauled by lions of a farm owner,” said Cosatu provincial secretary, Solly Phetoe.

Cosatu called for the killing of the lions and that the expired permit of farm owner, Tommy Van Vuuren, not be renewed.

“… it must be cancelled and the rest of the 95 other lions be confiscated,” he said.

Mcwango on Monday confirmed that the farmer’s permit had expired in May, before the Gaorupi was killed. – Sapa

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