Coal Yard Project

Since 2004

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The Society successfully launched the Coal Yard project in Tembisa in 2004 which envisioned developing, empowering, educating and improving business efficacy within 14 micro businesses through the care of 360 working equine. Since then, SAID has continued to work with determination and compassion to achieve a phenomenal stride towards the ongoing marked reduction of working horses, replaced by mechanisation within Ivory Park and Tembisa.


 The Society believes that enforcing one’s desires on others brings temporary results, educating and allowing others to choose wisely for themselves produces true and lasting results.

Diamonds from Dust 

Since 2016

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Initiated to complement the Coal Yard project by providing schooling and new purpose for retired coal yard ponies.

The equine that form part of the Diamonds Project have been willingly surrendered, not replaced, and retired from their daily task of transporting coal.

The Diamonds from Dust programme aims at the development, de-sensitisation and training of each coal yard pony so that it can be fostered by a suitable home, living out a purpose-filled and comfortable life.

The fact that some of these horses are still young affords them a lifetime of schooling, with the possibility of reaching new heights as show-jumpers, dressage and Western riding horses, or ultimately, providing an aspiring young rider, a platform to learn, love and grow. When the horse is ready, it is put up for adoption. The potential owners, who will take over the cost of looking after the horses, are also assessed to ensure that the horse-and-rider combination will be compatible.


The quote by Lebo Mashile, inspires the incredible effort that is put into these the diamonds, “There is a me that I could be, if I just let her breathe outside, a thundering song that I could sing, if I just let her breathe outside.”


Since 2016

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SAID’s mission is to be instrumental and resourceful in ensuring access to veterinary care provision in South Africa. We believe that beyond any sterilisation campaign ongoing access to veterinary care is critical. SAID’s training and mentorship of para-veterinarians is focused on delivering this support.

Typically our outreach programs serve isolated communities and are supportive of local organisations that have capacity challenges. Relationships formed with the nearest geographical private veterinarian ensure that once the primary health of the animals is stabilised and the para-veterinarian has been designated to the area, the veterinarian will be able to engage directly with the community. These relationships are vital in maximising efficiency and response time.

The dictionary definition of outreach is ‘the extending of services or assistance beyond current or usual limits’, SAID aspires to serve its mission with this in mind.

Training & Development

Since Inception - 1958

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The Society provides training and development of Animal Welfare Assistants (AWA) and Animal Health Technicians (AHT).

AWA’s are lay persons drawn from the communities we serve, trained and proposed for examination by The Society and examined and authorised by The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) to perform rudimentary veterinary services under the guidance of a veterinarian. In excess of 140 people were employed in this capacity from 1958 until legislative changes were made by the SAVC in 2012.

A diploma or degree in animal health in respect of AHT’s has been established to enhance the care of rural stock animals. The Society provides AHT’s with post graduate employment and training opportunities in domestic animal and equine care thereby widening their future employment scope.

The Society is formally associated and instrumental in developing the scope of current and future students at tertiary institutions and serves as a practical training facility during their studies.

Our ultimate intention is to ensure that the quality and accessibility of future veterinary care provision will sustain the demands of our nation.

Business Development

Since 2004

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The Society for Animals in Distress is progressive in planning for and accommodating our evolving footprint of operations.

We are invested in 14 micro businesses within the informal sector of Tembisa. These coal yard operations derive their income from the delivery of coal with the use of horse-drawn carts. The success of skills development opportunities afforded to these entrepreneurs has produced a farrier and a harness-maker who derive their income from the provision of these subsidiary services to the community.

Our ongoing investment in education and provision of veterinary assistance has enabled these businesses to thrive

With limited or non-existent access to any basic services our mobile units ensure that burgeoning informal settlement communities receive door to door veterinary care. While this essential service is at the core of our mandate we are also ethical caretakers of a widening increased socio-economic scenario in more established communities. This increased community earning potential has initiated our commitment to historically bridging the divide between welfare funding constraints and private veterinary consulting rooms.

Black Economic Empowerment policy was developed to stimulate the participation of black people in the mainstream economy and we believe that Enterprise Development is one of the key elements capable of creating the necessary stimulation to drive black business development.

The Society understands the importance of the advancement of black entrepreneurs and small business development. With this in mind, The Society has developed a programme that is considered a Core Enterprise Development programme that will add direct value and capacity to the establishment of peripheral animal care business enterprises within our operational areas.

This collaboration has the common purpose of achieving economic and social change through action, inspiration and support. In the establishing of peripheral animal care enterprises while attracting and widening the reach of affiliated business interest we aim to capacitate this transition with financial investment, marketing, black ownership, veterinary staffing, training, community clientele and offering community employment opportunities.

Created by Ilne Weyers