The dysfunctional ANC government is actively driving the agricultural sector over an economic cliff. It is responsible for the accelerating rate of food security destruction South Africa is facing.
This is according to Mr. Johan Steyn, Chairman: TLU SA Eastern Cape, following the revelation that government incompetence failed to convince the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) of South Africa’s foot-and-mouth free status.
“According to our information, the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform was scheduled to deliver two presentations to the OIE,” he said. “The objective of these presentations was to reinstate the country’s foot-and-mouth free status. At the first presentation the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) refused to release the serological test results because the Department of Agriculture owes them money. At the second presentation, Onderstepoort could perform no tests as samples had not been received from Limpopo Province. Provincial technicians refused to take the cattle samples as they are not paid overtime to do the sampling.”
Steyn points out that the continuing ban on the export of live breeding animals, game and meat has brought all export trade in these products to a grinding halt. In addition, the wool price has plummeted by around 40% over the past year with storage facilities filled to capacity with wool that cannot be exported. The price for slaughter stock continues to fall, despite a paucity of slaughter animals due to the relentless drought. The root of the problem is disease-ridden feral livestock freely wandering across the border with Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries. This is due to the derelict border fences that are no longer maintained nor managed by the department.
He says it is absurd and unacceptable that the survival of the largest agricultural sector in South Africa, namely livestock, hangs in the balance thanks to a dysfunctional government and its incapable officials.
“We are not pleading for our existence, we are in fact demanding that the government fulfills its part of the social contract it has with the citizens of this country,” says Steyn. “Certain roleplayers in organised agriculture are recommending the kid glove approach with government to solve the problem. In my opinion, similar to the SAPS simply “monitoring” the continued plundering, looting and destruction of private property, this approach is unlikely to bear any fruit. Producers pay significant tax and comply with the laws and regulations of this country. In return we expect that the government and their highly paid officials carry out their tasks diligently and effectively. To the benefit of the entire country and all its citizens.”
He points out that many of the world class systems that have placed South Africa at the forefront of various agricultural sectors worldwide, have been developed over many years by agricultural organisations, individuals and others in the sector.
“This expertise is still available in the private sector and will be applied in the interests of producers and to the detriment of state coffers. For example, private companies are very profitably and effectively filling the void left by the collapsed Onderstepoort through the manufacture of vaccines and other veterinary medicines essential to the livestock and other industries, both locally and in Africa. Increasingly, this expertise will be applied to maintain and expand the sector’s success. The fact is that the government is rapidly making itself irrelevant to the private sector,” he says.
“The livestock industry makes a significant contribution to state coffers. It earns valuable foreign exchange through the export of wool, hides, meat, game and breeding stock. The export of practically all these products is forbidden since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease earlier this year. The livestock industry is one of the largest markets for maize in the form of animal feed. In addition, the survival of companies supplying veterinary medicines, animal feed, livestock handling equipment and transport are all dependent upon the well-being of the livestock sector.”
Issued by: TLU SA
Date: 11 September 2019
Enquiries: Mr Johan Steyn, Chairman TLU SA Eastern Cape,
Cell: 072 594 4626
Mr Louis Meintjes, President TLU SA,
Cell: 082 461 7262
Mr Bennie van Zyl, CEO TLU SA,
Cell: 082 466 4470