SPCA inspectors have confiscated a four metre-long African Rock Python from teenagers who were hoping to offer its remains to a traditional healer.
SPCA spokeswoman Maureen Vida said that on Tuesday last week they received a tip-off that there was a group of teenagers at the lower end of Church Street with a python.
“Senior Inspector Jeanette Salzwedel and trainee inspector Rob Deare found the youngsters with the python, which was already dead. It had … been hacked with a sharp instrument and the head was crushed.”
She said the boys denied killing it and said only that it was caught in a river at Bishopstowe.
“They were on their way to see a traditional healer to offer it to him, either to have for free or to sell it to him. This species of python is protected and permits are necessary to keep them.”
She said anyone who sees people with a python, which they may not have a permit for, is asked to contact the SPCA immediately at 033 386 9267.
Chairman of the Traditional Healers Association, Sazi Mhlongo, slammed the SPCA for confiscating the python, saying that they should have looked for the reasons why it was taken, as it might have been needed to save someone’s life.
“The SPCA should have let the python go, because if that traditional healer really needs it, he might send for another one. This is an ancestral snake; most of the time when people’s ancestors have turned their backs on them, traditional healers use this snake to make things right for them again,” he said.