Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, has welcomed the arrest of an alleged auctioneer who deliberately spread the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Limpopo.
“The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease 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 cost a lot of money, with the most severe effects felt by the red meat industry,” said the Minister on Wednesday.
The suspect – who appeared in court on Monday – was arrested after the department opened a case with the police following the suspicious spread of FMD.
It is alleged that the suspect knowingly received cloven hoofed animals that were moved out of the FMD controlled area and subsequently sold and moved the animals at various auctions and to various individuals.
|Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza
The suspect was arrested and charged with alleged contravention of the Animals Diseases Act of 1984 (Act No 35 of 1984).
The man was released on bail, with conditions. The case was postponed for further investigation until 23 March 2020.
Didiza commended the police for their swift response in effecting the arrest.
The Minister urged any persons or farmer who is concerned that they may have bought cattle from the suspect 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 and local State Vetenary Services, as soon as possible.
The department has assured South Africans that everything is being done to make sure that the disease is dealt with. In addition, the task team established by the Minister is working around the clock to deal with the outbreak.