State-funded pig farm goes to the dogs

2016-06-29 06:00

SEVERAL pig carcasses and run-down abandoned buildings are all that is left of a pig farm that was funded to the tune of R2 million by the Free State Department of Agriculture.

Located on the outskirts of the Free State town of Brandfort, the pig farm was funded by the department during the 2014-’15 financial year.

It had been set up with some success as far back as 2006 by the department on land owned by the Masilonyana Local Municipality.

Its chief objective had been job creation and empowering emerging farmers.

But now it is crumbling down with pigs dying of starvation.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) euthanised 16 pigs, including several piglets, on Friday, 26 June.

These animals had been going without food and water for more than a week.

The NSPCA was contacted by George Michalakis, DA Member of Parliament.

He reportedly had been inundated with phone calls from a gravely-concerned community member regarding the alarming conditions on the farm.

Michalakis said the farm had been littered with several pig carcasses in different stages of decomposition.

Grace de Lange, NSPCA senior inspector, said almost 80 pigs on the farm had died over the past months.

She said some of the remaining pigs had begun cannibalising the carcasses of other pigs due to starvation and lack of water.

The NSPCA will reportedly lay criminal charges against the owner or owners of the farm.

When this publication visited the farm there were no farmworkers on the property.

Furthermore, there was no electricity supply and water.

Water pumps had been broken.

Zimasa Leputla, the Free State Department of Agriculture’s spokesperson, said the pig farm project had been awarded to six beneficiaries.

She said that some of the beneficiaries had since left the project.

Leputla said the department had financed the project by building the structures and by giving the beneficiaries 100 piglets in 2015.

Theft and the possible neglect of the farm by the beneficiaries are some of the challenges cited by Leputla.

She, however, failed to answer who was to be blamed for the collapse of the project.

The DA claimed that two of the beneficiaries, Reginald Mpopetsi and Mpolokeng Phokojoe, were closely linked to the ANC top brass in the province.

Leputla has denied these claims and said the department would conduct an investigation.

In 2015 a similar situation happened at a pig farm owned by the former North-West premier and current chairperson of the National Council, Thandi Modise.

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