Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The DA welcomes the decision by the National Society for the Protection of Animals (NSPCA) to lay criminal charges of animal cruelty over the starving to death of 48 pregnant Drakensberger cows at an Mpumalanga government farm near Ermelo.
The neglect and death of these animals could have been prevented, least through the proper functioning of the Department of Agriculture’s management structures, and the DA insists that MEC Candith Mashego-Dlamini launch an internal investigation to determine how this cruel incident happened.
Following a tip-off, the police and the NSPCA inspected the farm last Thursday and found the neglected and dead animals. According to farm workers, the farm’s management neglected to provide sufficient feed. The mere state of the animals, indicate long-term neglect and the failure of departmental officials to effectively manage this project.
However, the entire tragedy could very possibly have been prevented had the department entered into a working partnership with established commercial farmers.
The DA has repeatedly called for the institution of formalised mentorship and project management programmes in the province’s agriculture sector, whereby emerging farmers can be capacitated and assisted by established, experienced farmers. Such a partnership would in all likelihood have prevented the disaster that occurred in Ermelo.
Commercial farmers across the province have on numerous occasions indicated their willingness to assist emerging farmers in successfully establishing themselves within the sector, and the Ermelo incident confirms yet again, that the Department of Agriculture lacks the ability to do so.