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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘Government is tackling foot and mouth disease’- Minister Didiza

Culling have been implemented in Gauteng to prevent further spread of the disease.

Agriculture and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza has moved to assure farmers that her department was doing all it can to curb the foot-and-mouth disease that has spread to five provinces.

So far, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Gauteng, and the Free State are battling the animal disease that first broke out in Limpopo.

The minister said she met with stakeholders to tackle problems facing the industry, assuring the industry that she has spoken to the provincial MECs and officials in the affected provinces.

“I will intervene personally on some of these matters to ensure that they are resolved,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

Didiza informed the industry that slaughtering and culling have been implemented in Gauteng and that the North West and Free State would soon follow suit.

She said this approach was aimed at ensuring that the provinces remain free of the disease.

“An urgent meeting will be held with the premier and MEC in Limpopo next week to ensure swift and appropriate actions are put in place to stem and contain the disease in Limpopo.”

“KZN team has been meeting with the industry to undertake quick surveillance after the floods to ensure that we contain the disease in the disaster management area,” Didiza said.

She has promised to release the recommendations report from the Ministerial Biosecurity for Animal Health Technical Task Team before the end of the month.

“Let me make it clear that there will be zero tolerance on unlawful movement of cloven-hoofed livestock from infected areas or properties. I want to reiterate that traceability is a joint venture which must be driven by the industry and LITS SA for implementation.”

Foot and mouth disease has a major impact on trade in livestock and livestock products but has no impact on human health. The meat from animals slaughtered at an abattoir where necessary inspections are conducted are safe for consumption.

The outbreaks currently troubling South Africa were caused by illegal movements of animals out of the controlled zones in Limpopo to other provinces. Government has identified livestock auctions as the problem behind the spread of foot and mouth disease where animals are moved around across provinces.

Last week, it was announced that more veterinarians will be needed to assist in monitoring the disease in the affected areas, along with law enforcement.

ALSO READ: ‘Massive economic impact’ – Foot and mouth disease case confirmed in Free State

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