The board of directors of a luxury estate in Midrand, Johannesburg, has issued a statement saying they were appalled by the “intolerant” and “illegal actions” of some residents who violently tried to stop a Muslim family from carrying out Qurbani on their property.
It was considering taking legal action against those responsible for the violence.
It all started early on Eid morning when vehicles transporting the Qurbani animals reached the gates of Saddlebrook Estate to deliver them to property owner Ayman Fareed. Suddenly, over a dozen vehicles arrived and blocked the entrance with their vehicles, preventing the bakkie full of sheep from driving through.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Star newspaper, Fareed said estate management then suggested they use another entrance.
“My wife was driving in when a white Hilux bakkie intentionally blocked her off. We were literally shut off from our home at both gates,” he said.
She resorted to going home through the boom gate of the complex. As she entered, a car rammed into her. She stopped to inspect the damage and the bakkie driver came out wielding an army knife and slashed the tyres of the trailer transporting the animals.
Fareed said he and the bakkie driver almost exchanged blows, but fortunately police arrived and intervened.
A video of the incident went viral.
The slaughtering eventually took place under police guard. The estate’s board of directors confirmed that Fareed was granted permission to conduct the religious slaughter of animals on his premises. The board condemned the actions of the residents who tried to prevent the Muslim family from practising their religion.
“Representatives of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) visited the resident’s premises and advised that they were suitable for the ceremony,” the board told The Star yesterday. “It came to the attention of the board, ahead of the event, that a minority of residents objected to the SPCA permission being granted.”
The board revealed that those who had complained threatened to obtain an interdict preventing the slaughter from proceeding.
“The interdict was not sought. Early on Monday morning, some residents used their vehicles to block entrances to the estate in an attempt to prevent access for the car bringing the animals for the ceremony,” it said. “A series of altercations, some resulting in injury and damage to property, took place. “The SAPS was summoned and subsequently one of the violent residents was arrested.”
The board of directors said it wished to go on public record that it deplored the “intolerant and illegal actions in the estate of some residents” and was considering taking legal action against those responsible for the violence.
Ceri von Ludwig, a Saddlebrook resident, told the paper that homeowners reacted angrily because the Muslim family had not complied with a council by-law.
She said the residents had every right to object if they found the animal slaughter distasteful.
“If the residents find out that something which is, and let’s be honest, distasteful to them from an animal welfare perspective – we’re not saying unlawful, but distasteful to them – is taking place surely they have every right to ascertain whether there has been compliance with the law.”
Fareed and the board of directors, however, disputed this, saying the SPCA had given the Muslim family the green light to undertake their religious ceremony.
There were also alleged accusations of racism.
Von Ludwig acknowledged that “things got out of hand” but rejected the racism allegations. “Unfortunately, yes, it did get very unpleasant. I didn’t hear racism. I didn’t hear anti-Islam. I just heard a lot of grown-up people being very rude to each other. I did my best to dissipate that.
“It was certainly the Indian people who started to shout ‘you’re being racist, you’re being anti-Islam’. I think our tendency to play the race card and the religion card wrongly has got to stop in this country.”