Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says after clinical assessments were conducted on the foot and mouth disease outbreak, a decision has been taken to lift the ban on the auction of livestock.
She said, however, that while this was a complete lifting of the ban, this would come with several conditions to avoid a similar outbreak in the future.
The Minister said this when she briefed the media to provide an update ever since the outbreak was first detected in November last year.
"We understand the impact that this has had on the economy, especially the auctioneers whose business is about trading but they too appreciate that what we did was to protect the entirety of the red meat industry of South Africa.
"So the reason we have called this press conference today is to formally announce the removal of the ban across the country because we are convinced of the work that we have done. I must say that even though we are lifting the ban, we are putting serious control measures to ensure that whatever trading that happens is not having some risks so there will be some pre-conditions for the resumption of these auctions," she said.
Some of the pre-conditions, the Minister said, include:
Not moving high risk animals, such as animals showing signs of disease; animals from unknown origin or animals originating from known infected areas;
Only buying animals from known and proven sources;
Insisting of buyers to be supplied with a veterinary health declaration before animals are brought onto their farms; and
Always placing new arrivals in isolation until you can satisfy yourself of their health status.
Didiza also said that veterinary services are continuing to collaborate with affected farmers to determine the best way forward to resolve the outbreaks on the infected farms.
She said the slaughter of cattle at specifically designated abattoirs has started, with additional measures to prevent any disease spread through materials such as heads, feet and offal.
"... We have come at this point, where we have done all the clinical assessments, going farm by farm testing animals and convincing ourselves that we don't have a risk of a spread of this disease beyond the province and I would like to thank the industry for having cooperated with us all the way through to ensure we do not have an outbreak in the other parts of the country either than containing the disease in the epicentre, which is in Limpopo," she said.