Foot-and-mouth disease wreaking havoc on farm and communal areas

Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza said the country has been currently battling at least 56 foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

FILE: Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development & Land Reform Thoko Didiza. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza urged livestock owners to safeguard their herds amid a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

It has been affecting farms and communal areas in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Gauteng.

Didiza said the country has been currently battling at least 56 foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

The minister said it was caused by the illegal movement of animals out of food and mouth disease-controlled zones in Limpopo.

The outbreak has a severely negative impact, not only on South Africa's economy but also on individual animal owners.

Didiza said the department became aware of companies advertising the sale of food-and-mouth vaccines.

However, this is illegal because the use of vaccines is strictly controlled by state veterinary services and is not available for sale to the general public.