Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Karma and the NSPCA


Only recently, I wrote a blog titled “What goes around” concerning the scandal of Ruth Padel having to resign from the Chair of Oxford Poetry due to her underhanded tactics against the Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, and her defamation of myself in her book Tigers In Red Weather.

Just now, a friend in South Africa sent me an article that appeared in “the Star” on July 11th titled “‘Bullying’ NSPCA chief in dog box”. It started as follows:

“The CHIEF executive officer of the National Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals is under fire for allegedly mismanaging the organisation, misusing the perennial cash-strapped body’s funds and bullying her staff.. SPCA staff approached the Office of the Public Protector to complain that Alberton-based NSPCA chief executive Marcelle Meredith had received inordinate salary increases, that she would regularly receive “inappropriate” luxury vehicles as company cars and that she would ruthlessly deal with employees who question her.”

And the Public Protector concluded in a report to the then agriculture minister Lulu Xingwana: “Upon careful consideration of the facts before us, the Office of the Public Protector is of the view that there may exist serious organisational and human relationship problems within the NSPCA, and that many appear to have their origin in an unaccountable management style.”

Is this Karma, or what? In the Wikipedia definition, Karma is described as follows:
“Karma” is the concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies. In these systems, the effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala.”
This news story is well in line with the grapevine reputations of Meredith who has reigned at the NSPCA for 17 years. I have never met her, but her reputation is well known to me through many sources. One is through ex-NSPCA staff members. And another is of course through the famous five-year fight that NSPCA launched against us. It started with the NSPCA’s threat of criminal prosecution of my team for providing cockerals for our nearly extinct tigers to learn hunting. When they failed to convince the police to prosecute us on this account and the subsequent “live blesbok” supply to tigers, they embarked on a long civil suit against us which cost us millions of rands in order to defend our project and our staff.
We won the case, and won also the appeal, as well as NSPCA’s appeal to the supreme court and the NSPCA was order to pay our legal costs. Our success in court was widely reported in the South African press which prompted readers writing to us showing support and declaring withdrawal of their support for the NSPCA. However, the NSPCA has continued to pursue, which I have no doubt to be Meredith’s determined personal vengeance against us. I often wondered what good could be achieved if the NSPCA actually went after the real animal cruelty issues such as canned lion hunting operators, instead of wasting money prosecuting legitimate conservation programs like ours? As we said before, we are saddened that NSPCA’s compassion for animals does not extend to those that are critically endangered like the Chinese tiger. However, after all, it is donor money Meredith was using to pay her legal advisors to crucify our project, whose founders (Stuart and myself) are not only not paid for their services to the charity, but contributed their own life savings of millions of dollars to it.
The NSPCA was created back in a 1962 Act that gave it police-state-like powers. Even now the public prosecutor has no jurisdiction and its activities seem unaccountable to anyone, let alone taxpayers. Asked about her salary, Meredith pointed out that the NSPCA does not fall under the Companies Act.
Now reading this expose of Meredith on my computer screen, I must say, this has got to be Karma!

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