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Media Statement                     17 February 2020

MINISTER DIDIZA UPDATES THE PUBLIC ON THE UNBANNING OF AUCTIONS AND MEASURES TO PREVENT THE SPREAD FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK IN THE COUNTRY

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, MP has today 17 February 2020, announced that the blanket ban on gatherings animals is now lifted, since the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth three months ago in the Molemole District in Limpopo. The Minister’s decision follows the briefing she received from the technical task team over the weekend.

The Minister said, “There are preconditions for the resumption of auctions. Auctions will only be conducted under stringent conditions. All livestock agents must be registered with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council.”

The Minister further emphasised that agents already registered with APAC and complaint to the Rules in respect of livestock agents as published in Government Gazette 41473 Board Notice 28 of 2018 may proceed with auctions.

“I wish to draw your attention to the fact that all APAC certificates issued prior to 2 March 2018 have lapsed and renewal should be done on or before 30 March 2020. I, therefore, encourage all livestock and game traders to contact the APAC for re-registration prior to resuming with their businesses” remarked Minister Didiza.

The lifting the temporary ban on gatherings of animals is NOT implying that such activities are safe. Therefore, the Minister is advising all auctioneers to familiarise themselves with their implementing measures to prevent their animals from becoming infected. These include:

• Not moving high-risk animals, such as animals showing signs of disease,; animals from unknown     origin or animals originating from known infected areas;
• Only buying animals from known and proven sources;
• Insisting of buyers to be supplied with a veterinary health declaration before animals are brought    onto their farms;
• Always placing new arrivals in isolation until you can satisfy yourself of their health status.

“I wish to remind all livestock keepers of their responsibilities in terms of Section 11 of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 that any owner or manager of land on which there are animals
take all reasonable steps to prevent the infection of the animals with any animal disease, or parasite and the spreading thereof from the relevant land or animals,” said Minister Didiza.

“I am aware of the social and economic impact this decision had on livestock owners, traders and the general sector stakeholders. I want to reassure the nation that this decision was not taken lightly and was implemented as a disease control measure” Minister Didiza further added.

The Minister also emphasised that Veterinary Services are continuing to collaborate with affected farmers to determine the best way forward to resolve the outbreaks on the infected farms. Slaughter of cattle at specifically designated abattoirs has started, with additional measures to prevent any disease spread through materials such as heads, feet and offal.

“I wish to thank these farmers for cooperating with us, ” remarked Minister Didiza.

The Minister also said the outbreak of FMD in the free zone cannot be declared as over yet, although it appears that the initial spread of the disease has been successfully contained. She said there is a long way ahead before as a country we can declare the end of the outbreak, let alone regain the internationally recognised FMD free status with the OIE.

According to the Minister, this outbreak highlighted a number of areas which need urgent and close collaboration between livestock keepers and the government. A team, comprising of industry stakeholders and the FMD subject matter specialists, has already started working on a strategy for the better management of FMD in the controlled area. These measures focus on sustainability of the controlled area and strengthening measures that are already in place.

The outbreak has also highlighted the importance of individual animal identification and traceability, especially with continuous buying and selling of animals. The work on the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS-SA) is at an advanced stage and the implementation of this system is inevitable for better management of diseases in the country. This system should also be able to give us better chances at export market access for our commodities.

The Molemole outbreak was reported on the 1 November in a feedlot in the Capricorn District in Limpopo. This was immediately reported to the OIE. This outbreak was caused by a SAT 2 similar to the one that caused the January 2019, outbreak in Vhembe.

Following initial investigations, the outbreak could be linked to four auctions, held at two auction premises in September and October 2019. Due to the nature of the spread of the disease, through the auction marketing system, numerous properties had to be followed up to determine spread of the infection. In order to prevent further explosive distribution of the infection and allow the veterinary officials to determine the extent of the spread, an intensive system of tracking and tracing livestock movements and locations was put in place. The application of this system necessitated stringent quarantine measures to be put in place.

The measure included mitigation against further spread of the outbreak via auctions through the placement of a temporary ban on gatherings of cloven-hoofed animals nation-wide. “In our approach, we had to balance amongst a few variables, the risks and opportunity costs relating to the possible spread of the disease, economic losses to the entire country and financial losses to stakeholders,” said Minister Didiza.

Other control measures instituted were to place the affected properties under quarantine and not to allow any animals into, through or out of the premises.  This was to ensure the virus gets contained in these properties.   Approximately 160 properties were identified with links to the auctions. These include primary properties that either received animals from these auctions or supplied animals to them, as well as the properties that were indirectly linked.  These premises had to be visited, placed under quarantine, with clinical inspection conducted and samples collected as part of the investigation to determine exposure to the infection. Good progress has been made and the precautionary quarantine has been lifted on more than 90 of these properties.

In total, 18 farms were identified where animals tested positive for FMD. Most of the affected properties are commercial cattle farms, including a number of feedlots, which are fortunately all well fenced and where the animals are individually identified and proper records are kept.
This made it possible to implement control measures without the use of emergency vaccination, culling or road-blocks.

Of the primary contact premises linked to the auctions, more than 90% have already been visited and their status determined. “This gives the veterinary team sufficient confidence to proceed to the next phase of the control of the outbreak,” concluded Minister Didiza.

-Ends-

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

For media, enquiries contact Reggie Ngcobo Media Liaison Officer on 0828832458

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Media Statement 05 February 2020

MINISTER DIDIZA REASSURES PARLIAMENT THAT FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASES SITUATION IN LIMPOPO IS UNDER CONTROL AND THE BAN ON GATHERINGS OF CLOVEN HOOFED ANIMALS REMAINS IN PLACE.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Ms Thoko Didiza, MP yesterday appeared before the portfolio committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to brief them on progress regarding the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in Molemole Municipality, Limpopo.

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.

Minister Didiza further shared with members, the matrix that links the two implicated auction houses to affected properties, demonstrating the complexity of this outbreak and the risk that congregations of animals of unknown health status poses. This risk does not only apply to Foot and Mouth disease; it has been demonstrated that the recent African swine fever outbreak had the same mode of spread. Other diseases such as Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Bovine Leucosis, to name a few, have also been highlighted as risks livestock owners should be careful of when buying from sources whose health status is unknown.

“We do 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,” said Minister Didiza.
The Minister further confirmed that so far,18 positive cases have been confirmed and reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). All of these cases are in Limpopo province with links, direct and indirect, to the two identified auctions. Slaughter of cattle from affected properties has commenced and this is closely monitored by the Provincial Veterinary Authorities.
Minister also highlighted capacity and concurrent functions as some of the challenges in managing animal health and controlling disease outbreaks.

“I note the concerns raised by the portfolio committee on the ban on auctions and I will engage them with the steering committee on Foot and Mouth on the uplifting of the ban sooner for their consideration,” said Minister Didiza.

Minister Didiza wishes to assure all citizens that the meat, and other products from FMD infected cattle is safe for human consumption and any products which are discarded from the slaughterhouse is purely to manage the disease and prevent further spread.

Consumers are therefore reminded to only buy meat from reputable outlets as it would have gone through meat inspection and certified fit for human consumption.

For media enquiries please contact the Media Liaison Officer Mr Reggie Ngcobo on 0828832458

Issued by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

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January 2020

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Media Statement                                        29 January 2020

MINISTER DIDIZA WELCOMES THE ARREST OF A FARMER WHO KNOWINGLY SPREAD FOOT ND MOUTH DISEASE IN LIMPOPO

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza,MP has welcomed the arrest of an alleged auctioneer who deliberately spread the foot and mouth disease in the province of Limpopo.

“The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Limpopo Province has had a devastating effect on the economy of the country as a whole, and it is estimated that it has costed a lot of money, with the most severe effects felt by the red meat industry, “said Minister Didiza.

The Minister wish to thank the police for their swift response in effecting the arrest. This arrest came after the department opened a case with the police following suspicious spread of Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD). The police then reported that a suspect was arrested and charged with alleged contravention of the Animals Diseases Act of 1984(Act No 35 of 1984). The suspect appeared in court on Monday the 27th 2020 and the case was postponed for further investigation until 23 March 2020. The suspect was released on bail, with conditions. It is alleged that he knowingly received cloven-hoofed animals that were moved out of the FMD controlled area and subsequently sold and moved those animals at various auctions and to various individuals.

The Minister urges any persons/farmer who may be concerned that they may have bought cattle from this individual, or through any suspect transactions, or with any other information in connection with the illegal movement of cloven-hoofed animals out of the FMD controlled area, to contact the Department’s Law Enforcement Unit, as well as their local State Veterinary Services, as soon as possible. The Minister and the Department wants assure all South African that everything possible is being done to make sure that the Foot and Mouth Disease is dealt with once and for all and the task team established by the Minister is working around the clock to deal with the outbreak of Foot and Mouth.

For Media inquiries please contact the Media Liaison Officer Mr Reggie Ngcobo on 0828832458 and for Technical inquiries contact Mr Jan Nel from our Law Enforcement Unit on 084 677 3157.

Issued by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

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Media Statement             14 January 2020

 UPDATE ON THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK IN LIMPOPO

 Four further cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) were reported since mid-December 2019, with 3 cases reported in December and 1 case reported in the first week of January 2020.  The total number of confirmed positive locations since the start of outbreak has risen to fifteen (15).

More than 130 points were identified with possible links to specific auctions and known affected properties. Follow-up investigations and collection of samples were already performed on 95 of these points and precautionary quarantine has been lifted on 44 properties that have been proven negative for FMD.

All properties where the disease has been confirmed have been placed under quarantine and cloven-hoofed animals are not allowed to move off the quarantined properties. Guidelines and application procedures have been finalized for animals on FMD quarantined properties to undergo early slaughter at designated abattoirs with specific conditions to prevent the spread of FMD.  FMD does not affect people, therefore, meat and milk from infected livestock is safe for human consumption

The Department, together with the Provincial Veterinary Services, started conducting awareness on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo Province during the week of 4th December. Awareness was already conducted in 6 villages in the Molemole area and 315 farmers attended these sessions.

The use of FMD vaccine has not been indicated in controlling the current outbreak. The vaccination of cattle against FMD is conducted only by state veterinary officials in specific areas determined by the Director of Animal Health, free of charge. FMD vaccine is a controlled product that may only be handled by Veterinary Service, the general public is urged to immediately notify state veterinary officials should there be a suspicion of someone having, or claiming to have or sell FMD vaccine.

The prohibition on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, has been published in the Government Gazette on 4 December 2019 and is applicable to the whole country.

This resulted after the Veterinary Authorities identified that the short-term congregation and redistribution of cloven-hoofed animals played an integral part in the spread of the disease in this outbreak as all the affected properties have been linked directly or indirectly to auctions. This notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions at individual farms.  The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website

https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth

In order to bring normality to the trade of livestock, the Department and the FMD Technical Task Team urge all auctioneers to register with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC).  This is a legal requirement and auctioneers must comply with the conditions laid down in the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992). Additional biosecurity measures to be applied by registered auctioneers are under discussions and will be communicated as soon as finalised.

The Department encourages livestock owners to limit the movement of cloven-hoofed animals until the extent of the outbreak has been fully determined.   If movements are necessary, the buyers are advised to request health declarations before any animals are bought from sellers, to prevent the possible infection of new properties by positive animals being brought in. Private vets are asked to assist their clients by providing health declarations that indicate that the herd of origin has been inspected and found to be free of clinical signs of FMD and that all animals have been on the farm for at least 28 days before inspection. This will provide additional guarantees that FMD infected animals could not have been introduced onto the farm in that period.

Livestock owners should remain vigilant for clinical signs of FMD in their animals.  Any suspected cases of FMD should please be reported to the nearest State Veterinary Office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation.  Owners who have bought from known infected properties are also encouraged to report this to the Provincial Veterinary Authorities for speedy follow up investigations.

 

Reggie Ngcobo

Media Liaison Officer

Mobile: 082 883 2458

Dr Botlhe Modisane

Technical spokesperson on FMD

Mobile: 063 693 0330

 

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Media Statement

07 January 2020

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE FMD TECHNICAL TASK TEAM ON THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK LIMPOPO

A message has been distributed widely on social media stating that the Vhembe District of Limpopo has been cleared of Foot and mouth disease. This is fake news and this message should not be shared or distributed any further.

Traceback and forward investigations from farms that were proved to be FMD positive are still ongoing. These identified locations remain under precautionary quarantine until diagnostic testing is completed and the status of these farms have been confirmed as negative for FMD. This phase has not been completed yet.

The prohibition on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, as published in the Government Gazette on 4 December 2019 and applicable to the whole country, is still in place. This notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions of individual farms. The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth.

A review of the situation will only be considered, once all the involved properties are tested and the investigation of the outbreak has been completed in order to confidently exclude any further FMD virus circulation.

The Department still encourages animal owners to apply the following basic measures to prevent their animals from being infected:

 Not moving high-risk animals;
 Only buying animals from a proven source;
 Insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.

Any suspected cases of FMD should please be reported to the nearest State Veterinary Office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation. Owners who have bought from known infected properties are also encouraged to report this to the Provincial Veterinary Authorities for speedy follow up investigations.

Reggie Ngcobo
Media Liaison Officer
Mobile: 082 883 2458
Dr Botlhe Modisane
Technical spokesperson on FMD
Mobile: 063 693 0330

Media Statement FMD Fake News-07 Jan 2020

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Media Statement                       24 January 2020

UPDATE ON THE FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK IN LIMPOPO

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, has this month identified additional premises as positive for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). This brings the total number of confirmed positive locations since the start of outbreak to sixteen (16), with all positive cases inside Limpopo Province.

The Department wishes to emphasize that the new cases found do not mean that the outbreak is actively spreading. It is an indication that the disease control efforts are effective in identifying positive locations, which became infected after the initial spread of the disease from specific auctions in September and October 2019.

Most of the positive locations were found as a result of the continued trace-forward and trace-back investigations of the FMD outbreak. This means that all premises with links to known positive locations and specific auctions are followed up and tested. More than 130 points were identified and precautionary quarantine has been lifted on 57 properties that have been proven negative for FMD after clinical examination and testing.

All properties where the disease has been confirmed have been placed under quarantine and movement restrictions are in place. Procedures have been finalized for animals on FMD quarantined properties to undergo early slaughter at designated abattoirs with specific conditions to prevent the spread of FMD. One abattoir has been designated so far and three affected feedlots have been approved to proceed with early slaughter of animals, provided that the animals are not showing active signs of the disease. FMD does not affect people, therefore, meat and milk from infected livestock are safe for human consumption, however, the movement of these products must be controlled, as it can still spread the disease to other cloven-hoofed livestock.

The Department, together with the Provincial Veterinary Services has been conducting awareness on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo Province from early December and this initiative is continuing in the new year. Awareness was already conducted in 14 villages in the Molemole area and also during two farmers’ days.

The Department still encourages all livestock owners to maintain strict biosecurity on their farms. Any clinical signs of FMD should be reported to the nearest State Veterinary Office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation. Clients are further advised to still limit the movement of cloven-hoofed animals onto their farms. If movements are necessary, the buyers are advised to insist on health declarations, issued by the sellers’ private veterinarians, attesting to the health status of the animals and the farm of origin.

The prohibition on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, remains in place in the whole country. This notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions at individual farms. The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth. This prohibition will be reassessed by the Department once the extent of the outbreak had been satisfactorily determined through the ongoing epidemiological investigation.

The map hereunder indicates the locations of the positive cases, which occurred within a roughly 100km x 100km area in Limpopo from south of Polokwane to north of Makhado (Louis Trichardt on the map).

Map 1: FMD positive locations

For media enquiries contact,
Reggie Ngcobo
Media Liaison Officer
Mobile: 082 883 2458
Dr Botlhe Modisane
Technical spokesperson on FMD
Mobile: 063 693 0330

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12 December 2019

The NAHF with other stakeholders has compiled a list of frequently asked questions on FMD at present in the RSA.

We are attempting to answer as many questions as possible and have made a list of the most FAQs over the past two weeks to assist the farming community to understand the current situation.
These questions should clear up a number of issues; any further questions can be sent to md@nahf.co.za

Read the complete FAQ on FMD online

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Media Statement

11 December 2019

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE FMD TECHNICAL TASK TEAM ON THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK LIMPOPO

No further cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) were reported in the past week, but livestock owners and the general public should remain vigilant for clinical signs of FMD in their animals.
The prohibition on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, has been published in the Government Gazette on 4 December 2019 and is applicable to the whole country. This resulted after the Veterinary Authorities identified that the short-term congregation and redistribution of cloven-hoofed animals played an integral part in the spread of the disease in this outbreak. This notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions of individual farms. The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth.

The Department encourages livestock owners to limit the movement of cloven-hoofed animals until the extent of the outbreak has been fully determined. If movements are necessary, the buyers are advised to request health declarations before any animals are bought from sellers, to prevent the possible infection of new properties by positive animals being brought in. Private vets are asked to assist their clients by providing health declarations that indicate that the herd of origin has been inspected and found to be free of clinical signs of FMD and that all animals have been on the farm for at least 28 days before inspection. This will provide additional guarantees that FMD infected animals could not have been introduced onto the farm in that period.

The current situation remains at 11 properties confirmed positive for FMD. Approximately 70 properties are being investigated due to possible links with specific auctions and affected properties. Follow-up investigations are continuing and precautionary quarantine has already been lifted on 5 of these properties that have been proven negative for FMD.

In order to bring normality to the trade of livestock, the Department and the FMD Technical Task Team urge all auctioneers to register with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC). This is a legal requirement and auctioneers must comply with the conditions laid
down in the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992). Additional biosecurity measures to be applied by registered auctioneers are under discussions and will be communicated as soon as finalised.

The Department, together with the Provincial Veterinary Services, started conducting awareness on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo Province during the week of 4th December and is continuing this week. Awareness was already conducted in 6 villages in the Molemole area and 315 farmers attended these sessions.

The Department still encourages animal owners to apply the following basic measures to prevent their animals from being infected:

● Not moving high-risk animals;
● Only buying animals from a proven source;
● Insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.

Any suspected cases of FMD should please be reported to the nearest State Veterinary Office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation. Owners who have bought from known infected properties are also encouraged to report this to the Provincial Veterinary Authorities for speedy follow up investigations.

Reggie Ngcobo

Media Liaison Officer
Mobile: 082 883 2458

Dr Botlhe Modisane
Technical spokesperson on FMD
Mobile: 063 693 0330

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RPO – PRESS RELEASE

(for immediate release)

TEMPORARY BAN OF AUCTIONS AS INTERIM PREVENTION MEASURES FOR SPREADING OF FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

“The Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) supports the extremely drastic measures to place
a temporary ban on, among other things, auctions and shows of cloven-hoofed animals as
announced in the Government Gazette of 4 December 2019,” said Mr Koos van der Ryst,
Chairman of the national RPO. “These are preventative measures and not punitive measures,”
said Mr Van der Ryst.

 

Read online  English

Lees aan lyn – Afrikaans

 

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