The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) and National Wool Growers Association (NWGA) briefed the Committee about the progress in working together to resolve the challenges in the red meat and wool grower industries presented in a previous meeting. The Department and the RMIF had met the day before to resolve the issues that RMIF needed the assistance of the Department with. Both DAFF and RMIF gave a joint presentation which indicated that there has been a positive more in the right direction in resolving the challenges and in getting the Department to move forward in addressing the issues raised by the RMIF. Areas raised included communication, Meat Safety Act, Animal Diseases Act, and wool growers matters. Communication was one of the major problems that had lead to the challenges between the Department and the stakeholders. It was resolved that all communication between the Department and the RMIF would be in writing. Though the Department had held meetings with the RMIF, the NWGA was disappointed that they had not received adequate responses to their communications about their challenges sent to the Department. The Department said that they would be meeting with the NWGA very soon.
The Committee Members encouraged the parties to try to resolve matters outside of Parliament as having the stakeholders come to Parliament and resorting to lawyers and courts in order to be heard by the Department was a waste of valuable time.
The Red Meat Industry Forum proposed seven target dates which were accepted by the Department. The independent meat inspection issue should be finalized by 31 March 2013; hold the Lesotho Grazing Permit discussion and come up with proposal by 28 Feb 2013; work plan for border fences by 31 March 2013; CA/TB manuals to be ready by December and discussion on how to handle it by end of the February; abattoir registration by the end of Jan 2013; the National Abattoirs Rating Scheme by end of Jan 2013; the Namibian Trade issue needed to be resolved by the end of Feb 2013. The industry will report back to the Committee on progress. The Committee was adamant that the Rams Project was of national priority and should be funded from the excess funds rolled over from the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). The importance of this project had to be conveyed by DAFF to the Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) and National Wool Growers Association (NWGA). He said that the Department would be given the opportunity to present and then the RMIF would have a chance to comment and respond.
Adv Hillex Epstein (RMIF senior counsel) raised a concern that the RMIF had not received a copy of the report collated by the Department with the annexes.
Ms A Steyn (DA) asked if the Department had given copies of the report to the Forums as it was important for them to have information on what was discussed.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Acting Director General, Mr Sipho Ntombela, said that since the RMIF had engaged lawyers, the Department also felt it was proper to engage a State Attorney to respond to their lawyers. The Department written response fulfilled one of the resolutions of the previous Committee meeting. He said that the meeting that took place the day before started at 11am and ended at 7pm. It started off on a very difficult note and then it was decided that the lawyers would be excused and then the meeting became fruitful and less confrontational. RMIF was able to present the areas it wanted prioritisation on. The outcomes of that meeting would be discussed in the current meeting.
Ms Steyn commented that she was very upset by the document the Department had submitted to the Committee even though it was handed in on time. The way it was written in bold capital letters looked as if the Department was shouting at the Members. She felt that such a way of communication was completely unacceptable from the Department. She said such a document gave her insight as to why there was a stand off between the stakeholders and the Department because DAFF was shouting at them.
Mr S Abram (ANC) said that he had read the document. He suggested that RMIF should be given the floor first and then the Department could make their presentation. He would then like to make some observations. He did not expect a Department to come up with such a document as it was no way to serve the citizens of the country.
Mr B Bhanga (Cope) said that the nature of the documents were internal issues that the Committee and the Department could discuss. He suggested the Department make their presentation and then RMIF could respond.
The Chairperson said that the issue was communication and hardening of attitudes. He asked all the entities in the meeting to put aside all “issues and egos” and to focus on how to serve the country better.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries / Red Meat Industry Forum – Joint Presentation
DAFF Acting Director General, Mr Sipho Ntombela, said that what the Chairperson had just said, was also discussed the day before and he hoped it would continue.
Dr Botlhe Modisane, Deputy Director General: Disease Control, delivered the presentation on the developments and progress on issues raised by the RMIF in September 2011 and October 2012.
The RMIF through Mr Dave Ford, Chairman, added their comments to the same presentation as well. Mr Ford said that it was years of frustration that lead them to come to the Committee. And they kept coming back because they were not getting the answers to the issues raised. He explained that at the meeting held with the Department the day before, they had requested legal representation, but because of the feeling from the Department that they were disadvantaged due to their not having lawyers, the RMIF lawyers left voluntarily. They had received the information so far from the Department on the records of the meeting.
Areas raised included communication, Meat Safety Act, Animal Diseases Act, and wool growers matters. Communication was one of the major problems that had lead to the challenges between the Department and the stakeholders. It was resolved that all communication between the Department and the RMIF should be in writing.
Mr Ford added that they had discussed with the Department about being very frustrated, that their queries needed responses, and that they needed it to be given to the person from where it originated.
On the issue of meat inspection, the two parties resolved that the Department had put together an intra departmental proposal that has been finalized after extensive consultations with all provinces and was going to be submitted to the Director General and the Minister. Permission was also sought from the Minister to consult the industry on the proposal for the Independent Meat Inspection (IMI) service. The industry would be informed by the end of November on the status and date for the meeting in Jan 2013 and the entire process would be concluded by the end of the financial year. The RMIF confirmed that they were very pleased to hear that this would be finalized by the end of the financial year and looked forward to this feedback.
On the issue of the National Abattoir Rating Scheme (NARS), legal challenges experienced by DAFF were noted and it was resolved that the Acting DG would write to the DG of the Department of Justice to request that the matter be expedited. The nature of the legal constraints would be communicated to the industry (possibly the working group). Mr Ford of the RMIF said that one of the problems they raised was that there were different groupings using different types of schemes and there needed to be some kind of national harmonization so everyone was using the same system. They did agree as well that there were legal constraints.
The Department reported that the 45 abattoirs named by the industry had been investigated. 27 were lawfully functioning which meant they had valid certificates, 16 were closed due to non renewal and three could not be identified. The RMIF was requested to provide the Department with more information. Mr Ford said that they had sent out an inspector on 23 October into the field to make sure that the 45 abattoirs were operating without registration. They could only investigate 20 of which 16 were still operating without permits. The RNIF had undertaken to supply names to Department for further investigation as well as the name of the investigator who did the investigation on their behalf.
The Chairperson held up the list of the abattoirs and asked the RMIF if it was their list. Mr Ford said it was not their list as he had not seen the documents provided by the Department.
Mr L Gaehler (UDM) pointed out that the RMIF had raised in the beginning that they did not have the documents handed out by the Department. Ms Steyn also confirmed that this was what she had raised.
The Chairperson said that he thought the documents had been distributed already.
Mr Ford said that in terms of the Animal Disease Act, the Department reported that the Tuberculosis (TB) and the Contagious Abortion (CA) manuals would be signed off in December 2012 and that awareness campaigns would be done jointly with the industry. Mr Ford was pleased about that, adding that it was also agreed that the Department and Industry would get together to put together the surveillance programme and put the monitoring process together.
In relation to the illegal imports, the Department noted that all Orion imports were legal and declared, inspected and released at port of entry. Complaints from the industry were not related to the import control system but to handling post import. An inter-ministerial committee – consisting of DAFF, Department of Health (DoH) and the DTI – would be set up to look into the handling of the whole meat handling industry with the involvement of the Food Safety Directorate being considered.
Mr Ford said that the actual concern the RMIF had about the Orion case was the intent to defraud the consumer as well as people of certain customs and religions.
Adv Epstein, said that the case had been elevated to the highest level as it was very important. He pointed out that even though Dr Modisane from the Department had said that the importation of meat was not illegal, he noted that one could not import meat and sell it as another type of meat. RMIF’s case was importation with the intent of relabeling it as something else. One of the high officials of the Halaal Authority of South Africa said that from a religious point of view, if one consumed pork heart, then it was really analogized as poison. It was a serious matter for the whole of the Muslim community. The Department needed to step in to ensure that the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act was not misinterpreted and that products were not mislabeled. However the RMIF was pleased that the Department had elevated the matter to the highest level.
The Department said that the issuing of master permits had been carefully evaluated and it posed low risks and that it was intended as a practical measure to facilitate trade. The practice would continue. The industry was encouraged to report all illegal imports for further investigation.
In relation to border fences, it was resolved that a status report would be prepared for the BCOCC for escalation to Cabinet. Cattle in the Kruger National Park (KNP) would also be raised with the Border Control Operational Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC) and with local government where possible.
Mr Ford reported that it was resolved the day before that there would be a full report on the risk and condition of border fences that would be submitted to determine the risk. The issue of legal representation was to determine where the responsibility of maintaining actually fell, as well as the major cost of doing so.
The Department reported that import permits, issued in terms of Section 6 of the Animal Diseases Act, have been stopped. A workshop would be held in the Eastern Cape and the Free State to discuss problems that have arisen from issuing of permits. Issuing of grazing permits in terms of the Animal Improvement Act have also been stopped.
Mr Ford said that the RMIF reiterated what the Department had said and that the RMIF was concerned about stock theft that was increasing on an annual basis involving both commercial and emerging farmers. The RMIF would contribute to the solutions together with the Department.
The Department said that Section 19 of the Animal Diseases Act had not been amended. RMIF said that they would like to be consulted if there was a move to change the legislation.
In relation to the Namibian Trade restrictions, the Department had asked the Directorate of International Trade to follow up on the matter and report back. Mr Ford said that the industry was concerned that Namibia had made changes unilaterally which contravened the WTO, SACU (SA Customs Union) and SADC agreements and needed to be dealt with.
Mr Ford concluded that there was a move forward from the day before and they would like to see some time frames for the achievement of the tasks. He thanked the Department on behalf of the RMIF for the spirit in which the discussions were handled the day before.
National Wool Growers Association (NWGA) briefing
Mr Harry Prinsloo, Chairman of the National Wool Growers Association expressed his disappointment that the Association had presented a report to the Department with all the outstanding issues. However, they had not received any feedback from the Department from the last meeting though they had made headway with the veterinary issues.
He advised the Department to engage with Free State agriculture on the issues relating to Lesotho grazing as they would be the right people to engage with.
Mr Paul Lynch, owner and CEO of Standard Wool South Africa, the biggest wool exporters in the world commended Dr Modise, for the efforts she has been putting into ensuring the export of SA wool to Egypt. The biggest stumbling block was the foot and mouth disease.
Mr Leon De Beer, General Manager of National Wool Growers Association, was involved in a discussion with Ovine Johne's Disease (OJD) and he asked about the time frame for the start of the OJD survey. He also requested follow up on the R1m research fund that was committed the year before by the Department for the Rams Project that had not yet been given to the Association.
Even though an MOU existed between the NWGA and the Department, there was no commitment and no way forward. He had had two meetings so far and there was really no way forward. The rams that needed to be introduced in March 2013 had already been born but there had been no way forward on the MOU even though the last sentence of the presentation said that the MOU needed to be reviewed. He urgently pleaded with the Department to move forward on the MOU.
Dr Sipiwo Makinana, Deputy Chairperson: NWGA, said the genetic improvement project was working productively and was contributing towards alleviating poverty. There was no proper commitment for funding of the project and he was concerned for if it was broken, then it would put the rams cycle out of sync and then it has to start from the beginning again.
The Chairperson said that this was not the first time that the ram programme had been mentioned and he knew that it was running in the Eastern Cape.
Dr Modisane from DAFF replied that it was the province’s own funds.
Mr L Gaehler (UDM) said that the last time he was in the Eastern Cape he noticed it was their own budget but it had been stopped this term.
Dr Sizwe Mkhize, DAFF DDG: Food Security, said that the province usually received Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) money and they allocated to where they saw fit.
The Chairperson probed again if the support the Eastern Cape gave to the ram project came from CASP money or their own fund.
Mr Ntombela said that it was difficult to answer the question without the Eastern Cape Provincial Government.
Ms A Steyn (DA) explained that the CASP grant was a conditional one and the Provinces should declare what they spent it on. He reminded Members that Eastern Cape had not spent their full allocation the year before.
Mr S Abram (ANC) said that the Department allocated funds to the Provinces, but the Provinces were not accountable to the Department but to the NCOP instead and this caused the problem. There must be some way where provinces could prioritise what the Department wanted. What Dr Makinana was doing, the Rams Project was of national priority and should be funded.
Mr Gaehler said the problem was that the funds at the provincial level were not ringfenced for the Rams Project
Mr B Bhanga (COPE) was worried about the response from DAFF, saying that it should be doing its monitoring duties, given it was giving funds to the provinces, hence it needed to know where the funds were going.
Mr Ntombela said that they could not respond because they did not have all the information.
Dr Mkhize said that the Department was talking about anchor projects and that the idea at a high level where they were trying to stimulate production and productivity in the country.
The Chairperson said that he was hearing Members say that the Rams Project needed to be supported. He asked the Department to consider the project in its upcoming strategic planning sessions in February, not only in the Eastern Cape, but in other provinces as well.
Mr Abram asked again if DAFF could provide the funds necessary to intervene if the rams were not serviced, as it affected the whole cycle.
Ms Steyn said that she had asked DAFF to bring all documentation necessary a long time before. She felt frustrated because the conditional grants were being spent on provinces. The matter needed to be treated as a crisis and needed to be dealt with immediately. It was not only the rams but many other things.
Ms M Pilusa-Mosoane (ANC) asked DAFF if they could find the funds to be transferred to the Rams Project.
Mr Gaehler said that the Deparment needed to bring a plan for the Rams Project as it had reached crisis point.
Dr Makinana said that they had tried to meet with the Eastern Cape MEC but they were still not able to get hold of her.
Mr Ntombela said that Dr Modisane would take up the Rams Project and push it forward in the next two weeks, even though the decision to move funding completely rested with the Department HOD at the provincial level.
The Chairperson asked again if DAFF could do something at national level in favour of the Rams Project.
DAFF Acting DG said that they were struggling with their very strained budget and would find it very hard to accommodate it.
Mr Gaehler pleaded with the Acting DG not to leave the programme with the Eastern Cape Government. He pleaded with him to please find money somewhere to be allocated to the programme.
Mr Bhanga supported the pleas for the Rams Project by asking the Department to look into the matter and assist the project. The Eastern Cape always had a deficit. The MEC who continued to refuse to meet with stakeholders needed to be dealt with. He asked the Chairperson again if it was possible to send a letter to the MEC as agreed in one of the previous meetings.
Ms Steyn remarked that she wanted the Acting DG to look into the matter as the Eastern Cape did not spend their full amount allocated by CASP. Mr Prinsloo of the NWGA said that it was an amount of R23 million. She said they could write to Treasury requesting to roll it over. She asked the Department to see if that money could be used for the Rams Project.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would visit Ncera farms and the MEC would be invited.
The Acting DG said that there was a need to take a hard line stance towards the Eastern Cape on the matter. The NWGA had been to Parliament on two occasions and it had been recommended that the Rams Project money could come out of the last CASP money, for the last quarter of the financial year. The Department would use the debates from the current meeting to support the message sent to the Eastern Cape government, and the Department would put in some reporting requirements and due dates.
Members agreed with the statement made by the Acting DG for the money for the Rams Project to come out of the Eastern Cape CASP money that was not utilized.
Ms Steyn said that she also wanted to hear from the DG about what happened when the province did not spend all its funds and could not ask for a roll over. She wanted to know what was done with it.
Mr Modise said that the Provincial Government usually received all its money for the financial year in the beginning. The national Department usually received a business plan, but the province could modify it to suit their needs. DAFF could ask to redirect as directive from Parliament, but the HOD would decide in the end.
Ms Steyn said she was happy with that, but it was important to include some indication that they had not spent all their CASP money.
The Chairperson said that communication was still an issue even though major progress had been made since the last meeting, and he encouraged all the stakeholders to work on this area in going forward.
Mr Bhanga pointed out that the problem could have been resolved earlier by the different parties. It was wrong for the Department and government to fail in cooperative government and stakeholder involvement. Mr Bhanga emphasized strongly that it was wrong for the Department not to communicate to stakeholders and even more wrong that the stakeholders had to go and find lawyers in order to get them to listen. He had heard a discussion in the morning on Radio SAFM that people were not accessing government and they had to resort to the courts and lawyers in order to get government to listen. He strongly urged and pleaded with the Department that there had to be consultation and engagement with the people. If they had engaged in the process from the beginning, the matter would not reach Parliament, wasting Parliament’s time. He urged the Acting DG that the Department ensure that the people are taken seriously, especially as the industries in the meeting were multibillion rand industries. He emphasized that the Parliament was for the people. He thanked RMIF and the NWGA for raising their attention to the various issues.
On the fence matter, Dr Modisane said that there was always a problem in this area and it needed a joint standing committee of all partners involved. SA was like a country without a yard. He also said that the country really needed to take the discussion on borders seriously and initiate a process to discuss the matter and have an inter-departmental dialogue on it.
He also emphasized that an alarm must be raised about the Orion Case and the like. He raised it in Parliament when he heard about it. The Committee needed to condemn cases like the Orion one. He thanked the industry for bringing the case to their attention.
Mr Bhanga referred to a point made in the presentation about the Department’s need for permission to consult saying that it was not necessary for the Department to wait for permission all the time as it affected implementation. The Department had the mandate to do what it needed to do and should not ask the Minister all the time for permission.
Ms Pilusa-Mosoane said that she was very happy to see that the Committee had been able to do its job to get the Department and the stakeholders to meet and resolve matters so as to move forward in what was important for the country. She also asked DAFF not to neglect any stakeholders when they want to meet with the Department as the country needed these industries.
She thanked the RMIF for bringing the information that had brought awareness to the Committee on very important issues such as the illegal abattoirs. DAFF still needed to find out about the other provinces to find out if there were illegal ones and to deal with them.
She also agreed with Mr Bhanga that the matter could have been resolved a long time ago, if the Department had agreed to meet with the stakeholders.
Ms Pilusa Mosoane related a story of her visit to Shoprite Parow one day where she had come across a package of meat that she wanted but it had no label. The shop assistant was not able to tell her what it was. She thanked the RMIF for bringing the Committee’s attention to the Orion’s intention to relabel imported meat. She was worried about such a practice and said it should be stopped. She suggested that before the Committee meet with stakeholders responsible for the border fences, they must go to the borders first to see for themselves what was there. She had personally seen a herd of cattle crossing the border and she was not sure if it was legal or not and pointed out that it looked so easy to do so. Such incidents were rife at Gate 6 border post.
Ms Pilusa-Mosoane remarked that the Lesotho grazing permits could be monitored very well if there was an agreement with the Lesotho government that it would need strong monitoring. She urged the Department to look into the matter.
Mr Gaehler agreed that the Committee was happy that the matter had been resolved, but the situation still needed to be monitored so that the stakeholders did not come to Parliament again in order for the Department to address their needs. In relation to labeling and food safety, there was consensus on what they could see was happening. There was a lot of meat coming into the country that was not suitable for people as it was very unhealthy. A meeting needed to be arranged with some of the departments and entities involved in labeling. He urged DAFF to carry out random inspections on what was sold to people. Through serving on the Public Works Committee, he was aware that there were funds there for border posts and that some of the matters discussed needed to be addressed by the Department responsible. He urged the Department to look again at the stock theft issues as a lot of animals were being taken across the border.
Mr Ntombela, DAFF Acting DG, said that the Department of Public Works owned the fences, and the Ministry of Defence, SAPS and DAFF all needed to work together in order to get movement. The Industry had suggested the day before that a proposal from DAFF stating all these challenges and suggestions on how to improve them be given to the Border Control Committee through the DAFF representative who sat on the Committee.
Mr Abram was in agreement with his colleagues and empathized with the Department. He understood what the shortcomings were in the Department and the high staff turnover which caused the breakdown in communication.
He also agreed with Mr Bhanga that the Department did not need to get permission from the Minister all the time to do what it was supposed to do.
The Department answered that permission was the wrong word to use. What they wanted to say was that there was a document that had been prepared by the Department that needed approval of the Minister, as per standard procedure, and that was what they meant.
Mr Abram pointed out to the Department that their investigation on the abattoirs numbers did not add up. As they were talking about 45 abattoirs being investigated and the numbers in the report added up to 46.
In relation to animal diseases such as TB and Contagious Abortion, DAFF said in its presentation that it still needed to happen which meant they did not have a plan for the control of such diseases. There was a need for animal technicians to conduct tests.
He also asked for clarification of paragraph 43 on page 25 of the Department Responses relating to food safety where the Department said that it could act outside of its jurisdiction. He asked what that meant as he thought it was the Department’s role to ensure the food coming into the country was palatable, correctly labeled and that the consumer public could rest assured that it had the approval of the authorities.
Mr Abram was disappointed that the Department in its responses was defensive.
Mr Abram proposed that the Committee guide the progress of the process between the Department and the RMIF and NWGA since the Committee instigated the process. The Committee needed to put down timelines. He was worried about the Rams Project. It was important to have delivery following consultations. He suggested a timeline that by the end of the financial year, 31 March, there would be another progress report to the Committee to say how far the parties have come.
Mr Abram urged the Department strongly that it needed to stop being defensive and go on the offensive knowing that this was what it was there to do. It could go ahead and do so without fear.
Ms Steyn said that she was concerned that a meeting had taken place between RMIF but not the NWGA and asked the Department for clarity. She agreed that time frames were needed for action.
Mr Ntombela said that they met with the Woolgrowers subcommittee and Mr De Beers was present. Unfortunately not all issues were resolved, and a further meeting would be arranged.
She asked when the Master Permits were done and how the Department did the spot checks.
The Department said that the Master Permits were working very well, and that at the beginning of the process, the commodity concerned would be evaluated in terms of risk in relation to the country concerned. If it was accepted, then it would be imported from a particular establishment. The quantity was not a sanitary issue but a trade issue. A permit would then be issued either to import a certain quantity or a master permit was issued to import whatever quantity. The companies could make copies of their permits as DAFF border officials were informed about who had a permit.
In relation to fencing, Ms Steyn asked DAFF what was hampering the process of security at the border fences. She had attended a meeting in the Eastern Cape on stock theft and it was a problem there. Perhaps the departments needed to fence the roads it could not go into. She also urged the Department to look into things impacting agriculture and bring it to the Committee’s attention. She referred to an NCOP meeting that she had attended where the Minister had been asked about the impact of the new energy reactors that were going up in the Eastern Cape – she had responded that it had nothing to do with her. Ms Steyn said that she felt it had everything to do with her as agricultural land was being impacted. She said DAFF needed to come to the Committee for help.
She was worried about the Lesotho Permits and the Namibian Border. Her information about the De Doorns unrest determined that the problems there related to the people from Lesotho who did not get permits from the Department of Labour to work there. Such an issue was not DAFF’s job but it affected agriculture. A letter was sent from the De Doorns people three weeks before the situation broke out. She asked DAFF why there was no intervention then. The people from Zimbabwe had special permits to work there but not the people from Lesotho who were protesting and creating problems. She asked the Department if they were aware of the problem and dealing with it or if they were waiting for someone to come and say what the problem was.
DAFF said that the De Doorns unrest response from the Department was a proposal for inter-ministerial intervention so that the Department of Labour would come to the party. The farmworkers had no union and therefore had no collective bargaining. The Minister of Labour needed to make some decisions. The Department of Home Affairs also needed to make some decisions.
Ms Steyn asked about predation by wild animals and that she has been hearing for a year now that something needed to happen. She was aware that other parts of the challenges were the responsibility of other Departments and asked how issues requiring the line functions of other departments should be dealt with.
The DAFF Acting DG said that inter-departmental issues were always challenging to deal with, because what was priority to them was not necessarily a priority to others. The value chain of processing food up until it reaches the shelf had a range of possibilities. The Department of Health had to deal with the standards, the DTI needed to deal with labeling and DAFF with the port of entry. This was a challenge.
Dr Modisane, said that Ms Steyn was correct as the function of the DAFF was to help and assist with agricultural production. The DAFF might want to eliminate predators such as lynx, caracas, but then some would say it was an environmental issue. Therefore an interdepartmental response was also needed.
She asked the Acting DG to provide a time when they would come back with an answer to the NWGA about the Rams Project.
She noted that there was an increase in TB cases and also the same with the African Horse Sickness. She urged the Department to really put more effort in understanding animal diseases which was one of its direct functions.
Ms Steyn asked the Chairperson if a gentleman that was in the meeting could introduce himself. Mr Abram had also requested in the beginning of the meeting for the gentleman to introduce himself but the Chairperson had ruled it out.
The gentleman introduced himself as Mr I Chowe, an Attorney from the States Attorney’s Offices in Pretoria. He was instructed to come to Cape Town to assist DAFF, but it seemed that the major issues were resolved the day before and therefore, there was no reason for him to play a role in the meeting. The Acting DG of DAFF had presented the standpoint of the Department well and therefore it has not been necessary for the State Attorney to intervene.
The Acting DG acknowledged that most of the comments heard were those that the Department needed to take into consideration in processing the issues discussed.
Mr Ford of RMIF put forth seven proposed timelines. The independent meat inspection issue should be finalized by 31 March 2013; hold Lesotho Grazing Permit discussion and come up with proposal by 28 Feb 2013; work plan for border fences by 31 March 2013; CA/TB manuals to be ready by December and discussion on how to handle it by end of the February; Abattoirs registration by the end of Jan 2013; the National Abattoirs rating Scheme by end of Jan 2013; the Nam trading issue needed to be resolved by the end of Feb 2013; the industry will report back to the Committee on progress.
Mr Prinsloo of the NWGA thanked the house for listening and asked the Department for an urgent meeting to look at the remaining issues.
Mr Lynch said that the Wool Industry capacity processing use to be 5mills and now it was 2mills. Many business overheads had come down. Important issues included the Vet issues. The local industry could also create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Mr De Beers said that the time line for Johnes disease needed urgent attention.
Ms Steyn said that she was unhappy that the Committee did not go to De Doorns the day before as it was important for the Committee to understand the problem. The biggest problem was that South Africans were prevented from going to work because of intimidation by other people.
The Meeting was adjourned.
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