Permeable border to blame for foot-and-mouth outbreak

2011-03-01 10:59

South Africa’s borders are responsible for the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in northern KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said today.

In addition to the problem of South Africa’s porous borders with Mozambique and Swaziland, the “red line” fence that used to protect local cattle for decades had been allowed fall into disrepair, the IFP said.

“The fence between Ingwavuma and the KwaZulu-Natal north coast was vandalised over the last few years and has not been reconstructed despite funds being allocated for this purpose,” said agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development spokesperson Henry Combrinck.

He said the IFP had long questioned the provincial agriculture department’s failure to spend the R25 million allocated for the reconstruction of the protective fence.

“The broken-down fence alongside the failure to enforce border controls have resulted in a free-flow of infected cattle from Mozambique,” said Combrinck.

The fence fell into disrepair about eight years ago. The department has stationed scores of people along the fence to control the movement of stock and prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

The provincial department of agriculture was expected to issue a statement on the matter later today.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that there was a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries has picked up some suspect positive serological results for foot-and-mouth disease,” Joemat-Pettersson told a press conference at Parliament.

She said over 600 animals had been tested and 50% of them were found to be positive.

The matter was reported to the World Health Organisation for Animal Health on Friday.

All exports of cloven-hoofed animals from South Africa were suspended.?

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