The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Machwene Semenya, to summon Minister Senzeni Zokwana to brief Parliament on his Department's contingency plans to stop further job losses following the spread of the bird flu virus in South Africa.
The minister must brief Parliament about what his department is doing to ensure that jobs can be saved and containment measures are in place in the industry. Zokwana must assure South Africans, especially businesses that employ thousands of people which have been negatively impacted by this mess that his department is on top of this impending crisis.
More cases of the outbreak have been recorded in 6 provinces and this poses major threats to the poultry industry with 111 000 direct and indirect agricultural jobs at risk.
There have already been job losses due to the spread of the virus.
The truth is that if Minister Zokwana does not have contingency plans in place, this crisis can reach unacceptable proportions.
To date, more than 600 000 birds have been culled due to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) seeming failure to urgently implement appropriate control measures.
The DA is also extremely concerned by the tardy response on how the poultry industry will be compensated when culling takes place. It is totally unacceptable that no funding has been made available for this.
The Minister must ensure that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries work with the affected producers to bring an end to even further job losses in the poultry sector.
The DA will not rest until the Minister addresses the public and reassures South Africans that his Department has a proper plan to prevent shedding of jobs in the poultry sector.
Annette Steyn MP
DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries