Vrystaat Landbou eis sterk optrede van wetstoepassers oor miltsiekte in Lesotho

“Vrystaat Landbou (VL) spreek ernstige kommer uit oor die uitbreek van miltsiekte in Lesotho. Dit kan katastrofiese gevolge vir die vleisbedryf in die provinsie inhou.” Só sê Francois Wilken, President van VL, nadat ’n uitbreking van dié siekte naby Maseru in Lesotho bevestig is.

Volgens hom het VL oor ’n tydperk van 15 jaar die regering in en uit die hof van die gevare by die Lesotho-grens probeer bewus maak. “Dit het telkens op niks uitgeloop nie en het die owerhede weggestap van hul verantwoordelikhede om hul burgers te beskerm in situasies soos dié wat nou ontstaan.” Hy meen die owerhede het herhaaldelik opdragte wat deur die hof aan hulle opgelê is verontagsaam en sodoende het die finansiële las vir VL te veel geword om in die howe daarmee voort te gaan.

“Ons eis saam met ander rolspelers in die bedryf sterk optrede en verantwoordelikheid van die Departement van Landbou en wetstoepassers om die dreigende krisis met die nodige erns aan te spreek,” sê Wilken.

Deur slegs ’n verbod op invoer van vee en wol te plaas, sal nie die probleem aanspreek nie. “Groot probleme by dié grens is veediefstal en onwettige weiding van vee vanuit Lesotho. Dit moet gesamentlik deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag, die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens en veeartse wat onder die Departement van Landbou resorteer aangespreek word deur die nodige skutte in plek te stel. Die meeste vee kom onwettig oor die grens en nie by wettige toegangsroetes of grensposte nie.”

’n Verdere bron van kommer vir VL is die toenemende gevalle van plaasaanvalle deur Lesotho-burgers op landbouers in die Vrystaat, en selfs sover as die Wes-Kaap. Volgens Wilken sal VL so spoedig moontlik dié situasie met die nodige owerheidsinstellings opneem. “Ons doen ’n beroep op ons lede om alle relevante inligting aan VL se kantoor deur te gee, sodat ’n doelgerigte aksie geloods kan word.”

Free State Agriculture demands strong action by law enforcement on the outbreak of anthrax in Lesotho

“Free State Agriculture (FSA) expresses serious concerns about the outbreak of anthrax in Lesotho. This could have catastrophic consequences for the meat industry in the province,” said Francois Wilken, President of FSA, after an outbreak of the disease near Maseru in Lesotho was confirmed.

According to him, FSA has over a period of 15 years tried to make the government, in and out of court, aware of the dangers at the Lesotho border. “This often didn’t result in anything and authorities walked away from their responsibilities to protect their citizens in situations such as those that are now emerging.” He believes the authorities have repeatedly disregarded orders by the court imposed on them and the financial burden became too much for FSA to continue in courts.

“Together with other industry role players, we are demanding strong action and responsibility from the Department of Agriculture and law enforcement to address the imminent crisis with the necessary seriousness,” Wilken said.

Only putting a ban on livestock and wool imports will not address the problem. “Major problems at the border are stock theft and illegal grazing of livestock from Lesotho. This should be jointly addressed by the South African National Defence Force, the South African Police Service and veterinarians under the Department of Agriculture, by putting in place the necessary pounds. Most of the livestock are illegally crossing the border and not by lawful access routes or border posts.”

Another concern for FSA is the growing cases of farm attacks by Lesotho citizens on farmers in the Free State, and even so far as the Western Cape. According to Wilken, FSA will as soon as possible take up this issue with the necessary government institutions. “We appeal to our members to provide all relevant information to FSA’s office, so that a purposeful action can be launched.”

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