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FF Plus requests better preventative measures for curbing foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo

After a recent oversight visit to the border fence between Letaba Ranch (Kruger National Park) and local communities in the area, the FF Plus today requested in Limpopo's Legislature Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development better preventative measures to curb and control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in the province.

The most recent outbreak was reported in the North West province, but there were also outbreaks in Limpopo in the Collins Chabane Local Municipality in the Vhembe District (Giyani, Louis Trichardt) and in Phalaborwa in the Mopani District.

En route to the border fence, there was no visible monitoring of the red zones nor any roadblocks to prevent the transport of livestock out of the affected areas.

During the visit, a herd of cattle belonging to members of the local community was discovered grazing on the other side of the border fence on an area adjacent to Letaba Ranch.

It was evident that the border fence is not properly maintained and that livestock can, thus, easily come into contact with wild animals, such as buffalo that are well-known carriers of the foot-and-mouth disease virus, and then infect other animals with it.

In the Committee meeting, the FF Plus insisted that the MEC for Agriculture, Nandi Ndalane, and the Head of the Department, Ramatsimele Jacqueline Maisela, must provide clarity on the following matters before the meeting adjourns:

• The maintenance of the border fence between Letaba Ranch and the local communities;
• The demarcation of affected areas;
• How many cattle have been infected;
• Whether livestock have received all the necessary doses of preventative medicine.

Local farmers must not suffer damages again due to the Department's failure to perform its duties.

With the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo in 2019, the province suffered economic losses amounting to R4 billion.

It is alarming that the Department has seemingly learnt nothing from it.

The FF Plus demands answers and decisive action.

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