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Flavius Mareka College Laughs Off Animal Abuse Allegations

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2017-10-18
Reports claim that students of Flavius Mareka TVET College are abusing animals on campus. What’s worse? The college finds this amusing.
On 11 October, students at the Sasolburg campus of Flavius Mareka TVET College reportedly chased, cornered and kicked a kitten half to death in a classroom. One student rescued the kitten and brought it to Kitten and Cat Rescue, who saw to the animal’s treatment. The vet confirmed that the kitten, of about twelve weeks old, was severely traumatized and had bruising and bleeding on the liver consistent with being beaten. A few weeks earlier, this same student found a box of kittens thrown into a dustbin upon campus. The student did not report it, but rescued them and found them good homes. Kitten and Cat Rescue then took to Facebook to post photos of the injured animal, along with the following statement:
“We got this baby today. She was kicked and chased by students at Flavius Mareka college and is severely traumatized. We took her to the vet and she has been sedated to calm her down. We are spending time with her to get her to trust us before we home her. She is at least eating.”
While animal abuse statistics in this country have long been lamentable, what could be as disconcerting as the act itself was Flavius Mareka’s response to the Facebook post. A laughing emoticon.

Public Reaction to Animal Abuse

Flavius Mareka’s apathetic response has since been removed, but not before it was screenshot and spread. Their social media platforms have since been carpet-bombed by irate users.
“If you can’t teach your students to have respect for life and their surroundings then you have failed miserably! It is absolutely appalling to see how one organization can have such little respect for life, and fail to set a good example for their students by giving a humane, mature response.”
As it currently stands, there are 122 complaints on Flavius Mareka’s Facebook timeline.
“Absolutely such a huge disgrace! Meant to be educating the youth and the future leaders of South Africa, but absolutely so inhumane to an innocent animal! Whoever goes to this college you need to say something. How can you be proud to go to a college that respects nothing?”
The college has not issued a single statement, explanation or apology for the incident.
“Well done on condoning animal abuse. There is nothing funny about what happened to that poor kitten and the fact that you went out of your way to comment on the post with a laughing face is nothing but juvenile and pathetic.”
A representative from Kitten and Cat Rescue approached the college. They asked to speak to the person in charge of handling the matter and were reportedly lied to by the secretary on duty – who stated that the person in question was out of office. The college also reportedly lied in a comment, stating that they had taken the injured animal to the vet. This was untrue, as Kitten and Cat Rescue had taken the animal for treatment themselves.


Flavius Mareka - Inaction

Flavius Mareka TVET College has three campuses. The Sasolburg campus has two sites specializing in Engineering Studies and Business Studies courses, respectively. An institution cannot always control the actions of individuals within, however, when those actions bring the institution into disrepute, fitting measures must be taken. Nothing at all has been said about the students responsible for the attack on the animal. Instead, Flavius Mareka treated the incident as a joke and then remained quiet. If individual wrong-doers aren't exposed, then the institution itself, surely, is doomed to shoulder the burden and face public disdain. As yet, nobody has been held publicly accountable for the incident, nor the Facebook response. It has only been stated that the person responsible for the comment has been identified, and belongs to the Kroonstad campus. This statement was acquired by the representative of Kitten and Cat Rescue, who, after being lied to by the secretary, happened to walk by the office and found the Academic Head there. Critics are calling for the learners responsible to be expelled, or at worst – face criminal charges. The abuse of an animal in South Africa, under the Animals Protection Act, is in fact, a criminal offence. Likewise, they are calling for the students and staff of Flavius Mareka alike to be educated in the humane treatment of animals. The Corporate Values of the college, as listed on their website are:
  • Integrity and Reliability;
  • Innovativeness;
  • Responsiveness;
  • Professionalism;
  • Caring for people.
In a professional capacity, they have displayed none of the above. Not at all surprising, is that in a study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA, it was found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against their fellow humans.

We Contact Flavius Mareka

We asked twelve simple questions. The person assigned to deal with this incident informed us that the questions had been handed over to the Directorate of the college. As yet, though, we have not received any further answers from them. This person, did, however, try her best to assist us, and could answer a few questions. It has become quite clear, by the way Flavius Mareka has handled this incident, that they're hoping for it to blow over. They might think that by keeping quiet, everybody will forget all about it and move on. Time will tell.

The Answered Questions

The SPCA has informed us that they will be delivering a talk at your campus once the exams are over. Is this enough, and what will you do in the future? What steps are you taking from preventing your students from beating animals on your campus? Flavius Mareka has scheduled a meeting with SPCA Vereeniging, to discuss a campaign. This will include information sessions with students & the sterilization of stray cats on campus. The culprits responsible for the incident. How are they being handled? Flavius Mareka is yet to obtain the identities of the students involved. The abuse of an animal is a criminal act. Are your students aware that if somebody were to press criminal charges they could face jail time for what they have done? And is your method of dealing with them effective enough to deter them from doing this in the future? Flavius Mareka have scheduled a Campus Management Meeting to discuss Disciplinary Actions against students guilty of cruelty against animals. Flavius Mareka reportedly lied and informed the public that it had seen to the animal's care. Why was this lie told, and by whom?  I am not aware of any lies:  (The Student) picked the kitten up and Me Nicolene Volschenk (Lecturer) then took the kitten to her office. (The Student) took the kitten (after class had finished) to Kitten & Cat rescue. (They) took the kitten to Vaal Animal Clinic. Why were there no lecturers or teachers on hand to prevent this incident from happening? Because we are a College and not a school, the lecturers move around between venues.  The lecturer (Me Rapulane) was on her way to that venue. Me. Volschenk who had just left that venue, turned around and went back when she heard the noise.

The (As Yet) Unanswered Questions:

  • Somebody at Flavius Mareka responded to a disturbing Facebook post (alerting the public to the abuse of an animal by the hands of Flavius Mareka students) with a 'laughing' emoticon. What has been done to handle this situation, and what manner of repercussions will this person face? 
  • Is this person a member of the faculty or a student?
  • What justification has this person given for their actions, and are they aware of the trouble they have caused for the college? 
  • No public apology or statement has been issued. Why not? 
  • How will you amend the damage done to your reputation?
  • You have students in your Sasolburg campus abusing animals, and a person in your Kroonstad campus who seems to think it is amusing. Is there a lack of communication between campuses? What is being done, across the board, to implement a way of humane, ethical thinking and acting? 
  • Can we expect a public apology and explanation sometime soon? 

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