Minister Didiza releases MTT report after continued DA pressure

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
10 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

Earlier this year, the DA wrote to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, requesting her to present a report of the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) that she established in August 2021 to investigate animal biosecurity with an emphasis on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever (ASF), and highly pathogenic avian Influenza (AI).

The Minister promised to release this report by the end of April 2022. Since then, South Africa experienced the highest number of foot and mouth diseases with six out of the nine provinces reporting the outbreak of FMD in 2022 while the animal biosecurity report was held in a locked cabinet.

A year later, on 24 March 2023, the reply received from Minister Didiza was that the report has been finalized, and its recommendations are currently being implemented. However, members of the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development were never briefed or presented with the report.

During yesterday’s budget vote 29 on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the DA again expressed its unhappiness about the establishment of multiple task teams with no reports being tabled before the committee. The report was subsequently released after the budget vote, yet unacceptably without a plan of action from her department. (Please find the report attached.)

However, the report comes too little too late for many horse and sheep farmers who have already lost their herds because they were unable to vaccinate on time due to shortages of the African horse sickness and blue tongue vaccines. The livestock industry is experiencing carnage because of promises of vaccines that were not kept.

While the reply from the Minister indicated that there are already actions in place, the DA calls for the urgent release of the implementation plan and the scorecard linked to the plan.

The DA shall study the report and make pronouncements and recommendations on areas that the Minister needs to address with immediate effect.