Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, has taken the decision to lift the 21-day countrywide ban on the movement of cattle which was put in place to manage the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Didiza said the decision follows the work done by the state veterinary services, private vets and animal health technicians over the past 21 days – as well as the cooperation of traditional leaders, communities and the police – in assisting in limiting the spread.
The Minister said it is encouraging that the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces have not had a single case of FMD before or during the 21 days.
“In Gauteng and North West, there have been suspect cases around quarantined farms and in Mpumalanga no new cases have been picked up in past week. In Limpopo, we will retain the disease management area in the protected zone and around.
“In the Free State, our disease management area will cover those areas where no improvement has been observed, such as Marquad, Viljoen Skroon and Harrismith. In KwaZulu-Natal, the disease management area will be retained in KwaNongoma, Ulundi, KwaHlabisa, eHluhluwe and eMtubatuba,” Didiza said.
In an effort to limit the negative effects of the disease as much as possible, the Minister has taken the decision to repeal the control measures relating to foot and mouth disease as prescribed in the Government Notice of 10 May 2022 and Government Notice of 18 August 2022, and allow movements under certain conditions in the rest of the country.
This excludes the new Disease Management Areas (DMA) in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State – further details describing the DMA is in the Gazette Notice.
“All movements must be accompanied by owner declaration, recipient undertaking to isolate the animals for at least 28 days before introducing them into the main herd, and all stock theft documents,” Didiza said.
She said the department will continue with surveillance and vaccination in the areas that still have active infections.
The Minister called on farmers and communities to observe the health protocols that have been put in place and refrain from the illegal movement of cattle or animals.
She reiterated the call for an improvement in primary animal healthcare and the strengthening of biosecurity measures by all farmers, including feedlots and auctioneers.