Animal clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town needs urgent support after robbery at gunpoint

Words | Qama Qukula for CapeTalk

The SA Mast Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha was robbed by five armed gunmen on Friday morning. The armed robbers entered the premises at 10 am on Friday, stealing smartphones, laptops and cash from clinic staff.

The ordeal has left the employees severely traumatised and in desperate need of counselling services. Clinic founder Tamsin Nel has appealed to any Xhosa-speaking trauma counsellors for urgent assistance. The clinic will also need to replace smartphones used to identify ill and injured cats and dogs in the community.

While one of our animal ambulances was reversing out of the gate to go and collect an emergency patient, five guys came into the clinic. Three of them had guns.

Tamsin Nel, Founder – SA Mast Animal Clinic

They roughed up my staff… They are okay, expect they urgently need counseling.

Tamsin Nel, Founder – SA Mast Animal Clinic 

Staff at Khayelitsha animal clinic need urgent support after ...

One of the young robbers almost shot one of my staff because he didn’t have any money to give them. He stood on his chest, pointing a gun at his head. Another staff member offered up the R30 that he had in his pocket.

Tamsin Nel, Founder – SA Mast Animal Clinic

The animal welfare organisation had already been struggling after losing significant funding due to the impact of Covid-19 on donors. The clinic also recently surgically treated two dogs reportedly shot by SAPS officers while enforcing lockdown in the area – proving just how essential it is to keep their doors open for vulnerable animals in the community. The clinic has been facing an uncertain future and, without funding, could close in the next two months.

It’s just one terrible blow after another… My immediate concern is to get my staff the help they need.

Tamsin Nel, Founder – SA Mast Animal Clinic

If you can help in any way with counselling services or smartphones, please email: or

To make a donation to the organisation, visit the SA Mast Animal Clinic website. You can also sign up as a debit order donor.

Listen to the full story with Pippa Hudson on CapeTalk, right here.

Khayelitsha animal clinic facing closure as donors back off

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