The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo wrote to Premier Stan Mathabatha last week, urging him to to declare the province a disaster area despite the assurance by Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza that the situation with the foot and mouth disease (FMD) is under control.
DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, Jacques Smalle said in a media release issued last Thursday that the department w seemingly unable to contain the outbreak that was first detected in November 2019.
“This drastic measure is necessary to finally contain the FMD outbreak which is holding the South African red meat and cattle and game breeding industries to ransom. This will enable the Premier to request Treasury to make available funds held over for disaster management,” Smalle said.
“The faster we can apply to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to regain the containment status that we lost in May 2019, the sooner our red meat industry can recover and can positively contribute to much needed economic growth. The persistent FMD outbreak affects all our farmers, but it is particularly the small scale and subsistence farmers who are suffering due to the prohibition of moving livestock to auctions,” Smalle added.
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, however, last Tuesday reassured the portfolio committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that the FMD outbreak in Limpopo is under control.
According to a media release by the department, the Minister assured members of the committee that the veterinary services team is doing everything possible to ensure the situation does not cause any further economic harm. “Since the outbreak in November 2019, the team has followed up on over 140 properties with possible links to specific auctions and affected properties. To date 130 properties have been investigated and precautionary quarantine notices lifted on 87 properties,” Didiza is quoted to have said.
“We did not take the decision to ban all gatherings lightly and we are fully aware of the economic as well as social implications of these measures, I assure you that it is meant to be temporary in order to curb the spread of the disease and this remains the intention,” Didiza concluded.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN