Budgetary Review & Recommendations Report Department of Agriculture, and oversight visit report adoption, Disease status update by Department of Agriculture (BRRR

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

30 October 2013
Chairperson: Mr M Johnson (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee firstly considered the draft Report on its oversight to the Free State, and raised several points of concern during the discussions, ranging from the failure of provincial committees to accompany this Committee, clustering of the water supply issues that were plaguing those agricultural projects in Kgolokoeng and Diyatalawa, funding queries concerning the State-of-the- Art abattoir in Reitz, the mechanisation programme, an ongoing issue of concern for the Committee. Members expressed the view that it was necessary for DAFF to report back to the Committee on implementation of recommendations from oversight reports. They noted that the Committee was not being given enough information on Fisheries, and it was stressed that the DAFF should be achieving better coordination with the Department of Water Affairs on needs and subsidisation of projects in the Free State. They also stressed that issues of coordination must be addressed. The Members were worried that provinces might develop their own mechanisation policies prior to a national one being created. One Member was particularly angry that the mechanisation reports had never yet been received. Members suggested the setting up of an indaba between the Departments of Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade and Industry and perhaps Economic Development, to find a medium to think further on and develop models.

The Committee considered the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) and noted, at the outset, that the timing was slightly out of kilter because the DAFF had only presented its First Quarter report. The Committee noted a number of trends that were hampering the DAFF’s execution of its mandate, including the high turnover of skilled staff, particularly those who were poached to the private sector, and the repeat findings of the Auditor-General (AG), particularly in relation to misalignment of strategic plans, budget, and targets, particularly in the Working for Fisheries Programme. There were repeated concerns about the spending of 99% of budget, yet achievement of under 50% of targets, and Members stressed that whatever DAFF did should be improving people’s lives. There was a further recommendation that DAFF-funded projects should be monitored and evaluated physically by the national office, rather than relying on written reports from the provinces.
Members raised a number of points in relation to the Report format and wording and a number of extraneous issues were also raised, despite the Chairperson’s pleas that Members focus on the recommendations. Recommendations included that the DAFF should cooperate with Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to report on the spatial analysis of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in view of external threats such as mining in Mpumalanga, and urban development on high potential agricultural lands. It must also be captured that the Minister put steps in place to rectify the repeat findings of the Auditor-General (AG) and that must be specifically captured. The Committee also wanted to note that a report on outstanding legislation must be considered although after discussion it was uncertain whether this had been tabled to all members or only to the office of the Chairperson. It was recommended that the shortage of budget would not allow DAFF to implement the Maputo Declaration. The need to strengthen and differentiate between the bodies involved in research and vaccines was noted, and the Committee needed clarity on who was responsible for checking on the efficacy of vaccines. Progress reports were needed on Fisheries projects. The problems of loss of qualified and trained staff, particularly to private institutions, was noted as a concern. The Chairperson suggested a substantive amendment that included the budget being spent for the betterment of the lives of the citizens. Members engaged in a lengthy discussion as to whether DAFF did respond to the Committee on time, and concluded that the perception of animosity between the Committee and the DAFF was not really true, but the Committee had to correct what was wrong in the relationship. The Report would be corrected and returned for adoption.

DAFF then briefed the Committee on the status of diseases impacting on the agricultural industry in South Africa, outlining concerns about Citrus Black Sport (CBS), foot and mouth, and South Africa’s attempts to regain disease-free status, and the problems about the understanding of buffer zones. Members raised concerns on what recourse fruit growers would have if CBS developed en route to markets, the concerns on the restrictions, and whether there was insufficient regulation, or too much. Members insisted that the Committee must isolate exactly what the problems were around concurrent functions for veterinary services and what was hindering this from operating efficiently. They stressed that it was up to DAFF to bring any necessary changes to the Committee. They asked why the Health Act of 2002 was not promulgated, if legislative and constitutional changes were needed, why State veterinarians appeared to be unable to deal with African Horse Sickness, and the current state of border fences and combined operations. They queried the quantification of losses should South African products be banned from import by other countries, asked if students trained overseas could not be used, and for details on those employed after their training, Members asked about salmonella, and there was a slight difference of opinion as to whether “all was not well” in disease control and management. The Committee Also asked about imports of animals from Namibia, whether their health was checked, highlighted the need for DAFF to build better relationships with stakeholders and tap into local knowledge, and the need to re-establish trust and for DAFF to come up with timeframes for the review of animal disease control measures. Members asked when compulsory community service for veterinarian students would start, and wondered why not all diseases were mentioned.

Meeting report

Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on the Oversight Visit to the Free State Province, 29 July to August 2013
The Chairperson asked the Committee to go through the Report and identify any matters for further discussion or clarity.

Ms A Steyn (DA wanted to find out whether the finalisation and signing of the China-South Africa(SA) agreement on the Agricultural Demonstration Centre had actually happened. She was worried that any building could be liable to be vandalised if it was standing idle.

The Chairperson asked if there was any feedback from the personnel from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF or the Department) that were present at the meeting, and asked that this information be conveyed to the Committee later, if not available now. The Committee should rather go through the entire Report first, then deal with the concerns.

Ms Steyn said that the Committee needed to do a follow up as well on the Rosy’s Dairy project, because Rosy was doing very good work but was really struggling with having enough milk. She also said that what was not reflected in the Report was the issue of the water supply for the Kgolokoeng potato project, which the Committee had heard about during the oversight visit.

Ms Steyn highlighted the non-attendance by the Members of the Provincial Standing Committee on Agriculture, during the Committee’s visit.

Ms A Kakaza, Committee Secretary, said that when the Committee intended to do oversight visits the Chairpersons’ office applied, and wrote a letter to the Chairperson of the Provincial Legislature’s Committee, who should inform the relevant Committee about the pending visit, with a request that provincial committee members accompany this Committee. There had been correspondence exchanged, as usual, with all details and confirmation.

The Chairperson said that the major challenge with oversight visits to provinces was that individuals and organisations invited the Committee to hold visits, which sometimes unfortunately ran parallel with planned oversight visits to different areas, and these would need to be prioritised. On this particular visit, he accepted blame because he had organised the oversight visit without confirming the province’s Standing Committee planned visits. When he realised that there was a clash, the Standing Committee Chairperson had nonetheless assured the Committee that a delegation would be accompanying Members on their oversight.

Ms Steyn said she understood all that the Chairperson was saying, but she was worried that the  reading of the statement seemed to be ambiguous and imply that the Committee did not want to do oversight visits. Therefore her recommendation was that possibly that sentence should read: “The Committee had put in place systems to ensure joint oversight was possible between national and provincial legislatures”. She additionally recommended that the Committee send that Report statement to the province, so that it could add it to its records, and that the Committee made sure that its feelings were understood at provincial level.

Ms M Pilusa-Mosoane (ANC) suggested a grammatical correction to reflect the Committee’s feelings on that statement.

The Chairperson concluded that those were issues of coordination and would be dealt with in the future.

Mr S Abram (ANC) said that budget was allocated for oversight visits, and the Committee would usually prepare a report on its return. He had never, in his many years in Parliament, seen a Report on a Report, which was reporting the follow up on a previous report with recommendations. At the moment, reports tended to be filed, and forgotten.

Additionally he wanted to place on record a factual situation; he was a member of the Free State Cooperation Ltd (VKB). Members were required to deliver some of their products to the co-operation, and then to buy. He had no other peculiar interests there except that he had a share portfolio with VKB based on the level of business he had done with them.

Mr Abram started to comment on the broiler and abattoir in Reitz, but the Chairperson said Members would return to points later.

Ms Steyn wanted to add to the list of recommendations, to be sent to the Free State Provincial Standing Committee on Agriculture, the issue of funding for fish hatcheries and aquaculture developments investment.

Mr Abram suggested that the recommendations examine the setting up of some mechanism in terms of which DAFF would report back on exactly what it had done on each of the recommendations. If this was not done, then the adoption of the Report became an exercise in futility, because DAFF did not tend to revert to the Committee on oversight Reports. That was more so in the provincial DAFFs, despite the fact that their budgets actually were approved in the National Department. There still had to be some way of getting a report back, although he thought that perhaps there was no requirement in the NA Rules requiring the provincial DAFFs to report back.

Mr Abram added that in his experience he had found that National DAFF could not compel provincial DAFF to report back and that was a totally unhealthy state of affairs, because millions were spent on projects only to find that there was no improvement in the lot of South African citizens. He proposed that, within 180 days, the DAFF should report back to the Committee on what had been done on pursuance of the recommendations in the oversight Report.

The Chairperson asked Members to make specific recommendations. He noted that the DAFF, in sourcing funding for the aquaculture and fish hatcheries development projects, had to tell the Committee from where the funding originated. Agriculture concentrated on the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programmes (CASP), but the Committee had heard nothing about fisheries. The Chairperson said that the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) had a number of such programmes; therefore his proposal would be the DAFF could possibly access that funding for fisheries projects from CASP and dti.

The Chairperson also noted that since the Committee had seen the way that Waya Waya Layers were getting their product to the market, and the recommendation in the Report was that they should be assisted in doing their own branding and marketing so that they could sell directly to retailers without the need for a marketer. Additionally he reiterated the issue of water availability that Ms Steyn had touched on earlier. The emphasis was on the need to coordinate with the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) on the water needs and subsidisation of water to all the agriculture projects in the Free State Province.

Ms Steyn said that she agreed with the Chairperson, but the Committee had to be careful about the wording, as the two issues were different. On the Diyatalawa Irrigation Project there was water, but the tariff of the water supply and the electricity to pump the water were problematic, compared to something like the Kgolokoeng Potato project, which did not have water at all. Therefore she suggested that those differences needed to be clarified.

Ms M Phaliso (ANC) said that given the Free State was near the Lesotho Dam supplying SA with water, it could not be a challenge to source water for those projects. She proposed that the statement should read as follows: to negotiate with the DWA to give subsidised access to water for the Diyatalawa Irrigation project as it was a project for developing farmers.

Ms N Twala (ANC) noted a possible grammatical error.

Ms Pilusa-Mosoane said that the projects were not far apart from each other; therefore it was logical to address the water issue at once for both of them

Mr Abram asked as to what led the Committee to suggest the creation of a forum for developing chicken enterprises. He said that it should be remembered that marketing something was a business in itself. If the DAFF created a forum, then the purpose of the forum must be known; was it to obviate the competition between Province and the District as alluded to in the Report, or was it to try to achieve cohesion. Probably, the  province and district were both promoting the creation of both broiler production and egg laying units, and he wondered if the Committee was saying that DAFF needed to coordinate, and work out how to help those producers market their products. He pointed out that both the province and districts were competitive by nature.

The Chairperson said that this was touched upon earlier in the Report and there the issue was more about enhancement of coordination than competition.

The Chairperson said that the main objective of the oversight visit was to look at the infrastructure that was meant to assist agriculture in the Province.

Ms Steyn noted that in relation to the mechanisation policy, the provincial DAFF said that since National DAFF had no policy, provincial DAFF had decided to develop one for itself and it was still busy with that during the oversight visit. If National DAFF did thereafter develop a national mechanisation policy, provinces would have developed their own programmes already. She was not sure whether simply to leave that objective as stated in the Report. 

Mr Abram said that the mechanisation issue gained impetus earlier in the year when the Committee had heard that there were millions of rands worth of farming equipment that were parked, not being used, between October 2012 and June 2013. DAFF had promised a report within two weeks, but it never had – and probably never would arrive. The mechanisation policy that Mr Abram had heard of was that in every District Municipality, DAFF planned to create co-operatives (co-ops) to utilize and store the equipment, and share it with others, skilling people meanwhile in how to use it properly. If that ever happened, it would have advantages and disadvantages. At the moment, it was all hearsay and was not documented. In relation to both mechanisation and infrastructure, he also pointed out that the district roads were shambolic, some were almost impassable without four wheel drive vehicles and that the majority of the people in those areas were not able to repair their vehicles, or did not even own the right vehicles.

The Chairperson noted that the Report set out findings and asked if Members wanted to add anything to those.

Mr Abram said DAFF had given the Committee a detailed list of projects, including expenditure per project that had been funded through CASP and llima-Letsema. He asked if the Secretariat could make available that list to those Members of Parliament (MPs) not present during that oversight visit. He repeated that market access was important, and a number of departments, including dti, played a role. He repeated that market access was a form of trade, exploring for a market, in order to market the product. Traditionally, co-ops were formed that became a one stop shop for farmers to purchase, access loans and market their products. Currently, the State needed to think more broadly around the points and start developing something that would, in the long term, be useful. He wondered if the Committee should not call for an Indaba between the Departments of Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade and Industry and perhaps Economic Development, to find a medium to think further on and develop models.

Ms Pilusa-Mosoane said that the Free State province had earmarked 36 projects for CASP and 32 had been completed, and she wanted to commend the province.

The Chairperson asked Members to go to the recommendations section.

Mr Abram understood that the Secretariat had to report what the Committee was told, but he felt that patently wrong information given to the Committee would have to be corrected. He wanted to revert to his point on the Reitz abattoir. The Report stated it had been funded by DAFF to the tune of R200 million for phase one. He stated emphatically that this was false, because that project had been funded in the following way: VKB had put in R 137 million, Green Fields Chicken (GFC) Beneficiary Holdings had put in R33 Million, and then there had been interest bearing loans, of which VKB again had borrowed R94.5 Million, the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) was also involved in the loaning. He could give that information to the Committee, directly from VKB. This illustrated why he was so sceptical of information from DAFF, as he did not see how DAFF could make available R200 million for the building of a private abattoir. Mr Abram said the Report should reflect what the Committee had been told, but he wanted his comments to be noted.

Mr B Bhanga (COPE) said that, having heard Mr Abram, he wondered if the statement was recorded in an unclear way. The Content Advisor had mentioned during the visit that this abattoir was a private initiative, when he had lamented that the apartheid government had given investments to co-ops. There was something akin to a workers shareholding portfolio there and Mr Bhanga had asked questions about ownership which the official guiding the group could not answer. The Committee might have visited because of issues around ownership and shareholding. The statement seemed perhaps to be one that came from the Committee.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee would take the information from Mr Abram for the Committee’s own consumption.

Ms Steyn said that the Committee needed to make a comment that although the oversight was targeted to look at mechanisation, it had not actually been part of the findings on the ground.

Additionally she said she was concerned about the last meeting being a closed session, because she did not think that was correct and she wanted that noted in the Report.

The Chairperson said that it needed to be put on record that, compared to the last time the Committee had gone to the Free State, the Committee had seen a lot of progress, and noted that there was a dedicated Head of Department.

Mr Bhanga suggested that the Committee adopt the Report in principle, with the Secretary to check on the VKB report information.

The Report was adopted by Members, with amendments.

Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR)
The Chairperson said that the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) was informed by the new Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, 2009, and read out the purpose of the BRRR.

He noted that the timing of this report was already out of kilter because the Minister of Finance had already delivered his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The legislation giving effect to the BRRR was a new law, and the Committee still battled with some issues. The BRRR became part of the budget cycle, and whatever transpired out of the annual reports and Committee recommendations fed into the process. However, the issues remained relevant and would be taken through to considering the 2014/15 budget.

Ms Phaliso proposed that Working for the Coast Care programme be included in the recommendations. The Committee had discussed this, but never received any reports on this programme, only on Working for Fisheries, which was different. Working for the Coast was aimed at addressing the abject poverty along the coastline, and helped people without jobs, during the summer vacation period.

Ms Steyn pointed out the Food Security Production Programme had been replaced by the Fetsa Tlala production programme, and this should be mentioned for consistency.

The Chairperson noted a possible recommendation that the DAFF should cooperate with Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to report on the spatial analysis of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in view of external threats such as mining  in Mpumalanga, and urban development on high potential agricultural lands.

Mr P Van Dalen (DA) said that the Committee’s recommendations were that the Minister put steps in place to rectify the repeat findings of the Auditor-General (AG) and that must be specifically captured.

He added that the Committee had recommended that a survey be done on the bills that needed to come to the Committee, and when the Committee was told that this was the mandate of the Deputy Minister, it still maintained this recommendation, and it should be captured. The Committee had asked for a report on outstanding legislation that still had to be brought to the Committee – everyone had alluded to the bills but they were not tabled, nor had the report on them been brought.

Ms Phaliso said that the Committee had received a list and there had been a briefing as well on all the bills, and she had specifically asked when the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) Amendment Bill and Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) Bill would be brought.

The Chairperson also recollected that, and said that he had received many amending bills.

Mr van Dalen wanted to know why then those Bills had never come to the Committee, or the reply tabled. The DAFF maintained that the Deputy Minister was working through those Bills with the University of Pretoria, to find out which were outdated, and which were still to be presented.

The Chairperson asked Mr Van Dalen to clarify exactly what he wanted.

Mr Van Dalen repeated his question where the bills were, on which the Committee requested a report. If they had been given to the Chairperson already, then he asked why they were not brought before the Committee. As the Minister had suggested, DAFF found itself working in a vacuum.

Ms Phaliso asked how the Committee was meant to phrase the recommendation. Members had received a list, from the then Director General Langa Zitha, had asked questions, and asked how the bills were being prioritised. The Committee must remember that one of the bills had been rejected from that list.

The Chairperson asked Mr Abram to prepare a recommendation for presentation to the Committee later.

Ms Phaliso said that the Committee was very quiet about the Maputo Declaration and budgets for pre-settlement support for targeted land reform in support of the New Development Plan (NDP) land reform objectives. In light of the NDP, the Committee should make a recommendation speaking to the allocation, and noting that it would not enable DAFF to implement the Maputo Declaration, hence the need for an increase in the DAFF budget.

Ms Steyn said that when the Committee had met with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) the previous week, there seemed to be a disjuncture between the research on vaccine development and manufacturing at Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP). Her understanding was that ARC did the research and OBP did the manufacturing, and she recommended that the need to strengthen and differentiate between each entity’s roles must be mentioned.

Ms Steyn said that she had also asked about the African horse sickness(AHS) disease, which struck animals despite their vaccinations, and had asked who was responsible for checking if the vaccine was still effective, as there appeared to be a lacuna. The Committee had to get clarity on that.

The Chairperson said that there was work done on poaching, research activities and safety of the South African shores, an investigation into the contracting of Smit Amandla and establishment of a non-profit entity that would include relevant government departments, with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as the lead agency, and the fishing industry, to collectively manage the DAFF’s fleet of fishing vessels. A progress Report was needed on how far the DAFF had come with that work.

Mr Van Dalen said he agreed that much work had already been done, and much of it was already in the public domain. He cautioned against having the Report tabled in a closed session, because that would raise more questions than the answers it would provide. If a report was done, then the Committee simply needed to get it.

The Chairperson said that if there were ongoing investigations, then that Report could be not tabled in public.

Mr Van Dalen continued that if there was an ongoing investigation, the Report would also not be tabled before the Committee, because that was the nature of Parliament.

The Chairperson said that another matter on which he felt strongly was the position of entities – including OBP and ARC. The state was investing heavily in training and recruiting officials, only to have them leave and work for private entities, and he wondered if there should be restraints of trade. That would meant that they had to work for the state for a certain period, but then the State must make it attractive for them to stay. That would mean that the State’s intellectual property would not move away with them, if they moved to other jobs in competition with the State.

Ms Phaliso said that indeed that should be a recommendation because it would already be aligned with the policy and law on Public Service and Administration.

Mr Abram noted a technical amendment under matters for emphasis. He said the Committee also needed to say something about under spending on transfers and subsidies, particularly with respect to transfers and subsidies to universities and/or technikons, non-profit organisations and households. All entities had a need for funding.

Mr Abram looked at the concluding comments, and emphasised that the DAFF still had a challenge with spending its budget as planned. It had spent 99% of budget, but achieved less than half of the planned targets. He wondered if that should not form the basis of a specific recommendation because budgets were allocated to meet targets.

The Chairperson noted a substantive correction relating to the inconsistent reporting and non-alignment of the Strategic Plan with the Annual Report. He stressed that whilst this was apparent in “some” of the DAFF entities, it was not common to all.

Mr van Dalen said that the Committee needed to ask why the DAFF did not report on achievements in the sub-programme for Policy Development and Planning, which related to research on areas such as  agro-processing, climate change, and the Policy Development Framework. There had to be a recommendation also in relation to the targets under the Policy Research Support Directorate that had not been reported on. The issue of non-reporting seemed to becoming endemic as later on it appeared that if DAFF had not met a target, it would simply not report on it. The AG also commented on this. It led to the assumption that nothing had actually been done.

The Chairperson said that as part of the Forestry and Natural Resources Management programme, he had asked after the figures given in hectares, and whether or not Overberg and George had been included, because it spoke to the recommissioning of the forests. It must be mentioned in the recommendations that no response was given.

Ms Steyn wondered, at this point, if the Members should not simply note their comments in writing and circulate them, in view of the length of time that this process was taking.

Mr van Dalen reiterated his point about the inconsistencies in non-reporting and misalignment in reporting. Whilst the Fisheries Management Branch, achieved some notable targets, they did not form part of the strategic plan, despite the fact that they addressed national priorities. Fully achieved targets were below 44%, but he asked what those targets not achieved actually were.

The Chairperson asked if Ms Steyn could assist Mr van Dalen.

Ms Steyn said she did not have the actual targets, but understood that out of ten targets, the Fisheries Branch Management had achieved only four.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee would have to follow up with DAFF, but would include a recommendation that it specify what the Fisheries Branch targets were.

Mr van Dalen corrected the Chairperson, saying that there was no reporting on targets, according to the AG, who commented that this meant that there was no evidence of attempts to reach them. His complaint was that the new, reduced and reviewed targets were not pre-planned targets that had been achieved.

Ms N Mgxashe, Committee Content Advisor, said that she thought the trouble with getting the actual figures for the targets had to do with the inconsistencies in reporting within the Strategic Plan and the Annual Report. Despite the reporting inconsistencies, this did not mean that the branch had actually not done anything. The BRRR recommendations were expected to be broad, which meant that MPs could not make recommendations on every detail that was of concern, and the recommendations further were supposed to cover the 2012/13 financial year and up to October 2013, although DAFF had only reported on its first quarter performance to June, which limited the Committee.

Ms Phaliso said the same reasoning was given in the BRRR. It was noted that it was difficult to assess whether targets were achieved, because some changed. For example, page 13 of the Strategic Plan said that the Fisheries Branch planned to implement 15 projects under the Working for Fisheries Programme, but the Annual Report changed this target to creating 1 000 jobs, and then reported that 1 343 jobs were created through 11 projects. Strictly speaking, the Branch failed to implement 15 programmes, although it over-achieved on job creation. It had not failed to do anything.

Mr Abram asked for clarity on the wording under Service Delivery Performance Findings.

Ms Mgxashe said that, as she had indicated, the BRRR was a process that should have started in 2012. Service delivery performance findings were issues that the Committee had raised with DAFF, both through interactions and also during oversight visits. The BRRR was not about the Annual Report, but about everything the Committee had been doing. Members could change the wording.

The Chairperson asked what “without ground-truthing” meant in relation to the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit.

Ms Steyn said she was unsure if the word was correct, but the sense was that Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of Department-funded projects was done on paper, without verifying the truth on the ground. DAFF reported on M&E to the Committee, but the Committee found the contrary position when it conducted its oversight.

The Chairperson argued that this was not entirely correct; the Committee had perceived some improvement during the last visit.

Ms Steyn understood that, but drew the distinction that this was referring to what the National DAFF told the Committee. Using CASP by way of illustration, DAFF would speak to the projects, but when the Committee questioned how many hectares were planted, DAFF would respond that it was merely relaying what it was told by the provinces. The Committee felt that DAFF should be physically visiting the provinces to verify the reports.

The Chairperson then said that the wording would be clarified to show that provincial matters did show some improvement,.

Mr Bhanga referred to the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) briefing, which spoke to the issue of redesigning the M&E mechanism, with particular reference to performance and grants allocation. The FFC noted, as part of the DAFF limitations, the lack of synergy in the reporting mechanism between provinces and national, and the Committee confirmed that it had known of this. Mr Bhanga said that there needed to be more integration of M&E, actually monitoring extension officers on the ground.

Mr A Cele (ANC) suggested that the Committee recommend that the DAFF-funded projects should be monitored and evaluated physically by DAFF national, rather than merely by written provincial reports.

Ms Phaliso seconded that and noted that this would apply to all nine provinces.

Mr Abram noted that when ARC appeared before the Committee it had said that it was going to engage in some litigation, but wanted the Committee to urge entities and DAFF to try to exhaust all other avenues to reach amicable settlement, as a general comment.

The Chairperson asked where this would fit in.

Mr Abram noted that the Report mentioned irregular expenditure in ARC, to the amount of R1.1 million, as a result of non-compliance with supply chain management policies and procedures, Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). He asked then whether it was contrary to any of these to litigate without exhausting all other settlement options, and reiterated that the entities be cautioned against doing this.

The Chairperson wanted the Committee to distinguish between the recommendations, and any other technical amendments that needed a separate process.

The Chairperson said one of the most salient recommendations related to the 99% spending of budget, and achievement of under 50% of targets. There was a need for the budget expenditure to talk to the improvement of people’s lives.

Ms Steyn agreed with the Chairperson that the statement could be amended to include the Committee’s concern over the lack of visibility around achievement of targets on the ground.

The Chairperson suggested a substantive amendment that included the budget being spent for the betterment of the lives of the citizens.

Mr Cele added that the use of the word ‘ensure’ would also further emphasise that need for that link between budget expenditure and change in people’s lives.

Ms Phaliso questioned the statement around the Department’s lack of responsiveness to Committee requests, including questions deferred for written replies. She pointed out that there were written replies.

Ms Steyn noted that this statement was qualified by the phrase “whose deadlines the DAFF does not meet”. The point was that DAFF sometimes replied a month or a year after the questions had been put.

The Chairperson said that he had a report from DAFF which in fact had been handed in on time.

Mr Cele said that he thought that this needed correction – it was not inevitable that DAFF did not respond.

Mr Abram read the statement, but maintained that “since time immemorial” DAFF had failed to reply to questions, and he had in fact said that there was not even any point in asking them, so he believed the statement was correct. DAFF did not respond adequately to questions, and there was nothing wrong with stating that, as a fact. He noted that the Chairperson said he had a document that arrived on time, but said that the minutes of the meeting on 9 October showed that questions were put to DAFF and he would bet his last penny that the Committee did not get those responses by the deadline date of 18 October. He did not wish to be party to the Committee knowing that delivery was very poor and allowing this state of affairs to continue. The letter from Siyathamela Co-operative, from Pongola, was given to DAFF, but it had failed to respond. Service delivery was really about how DAFF treated South African citizens.

Ms Phaliso said that the truth of the matter was that there were written responses, so the statement must be amended, and not left in such general terms.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary and Content Adviser to assist in the rephrasing of that statement, to make it clear that whilst there was lack of responsiveness on some requests, others had been attended to, in writing and on time.

Mr Cele supported that and cautioned that MPs were not speaking as individuals, but on behalf of their parties.

Mr Bhanga felt that the Committee was proceeding in the wrong direction. The intention of the Report was to outline concerns. The perception of animosity between the Committee and the DAFF was not really true, but the Committee had to correct what was wrong in the relationship. The contention would not arise if responses arrived on time, consistently. On 1 October, the Committee was supposed to have been taken on oversight for the vessels but that did not happen because DAFF failed to prepare, and that was the kind of matter being alluded to here.

Ms Steyn suggested that the Secretariat prepare substantive amendments and bring the revised Report back for adoption on the following day. She suggested that the Committee meet again to verify if the recommendations were correctly captured. This was agreed to by the Committee.

Status of diseases impacting on the agricultural industry in South Africa: Update by  Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
Mr Mortimer Mannya, Deputy Director General: Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety, DAFF, introduced the delegation and briefly outlined the order of proceeding.

Dr Julian Japhta, Chief Director, DAFF, read through the attached presentation on Citrus Black Spot (CBS). He said that the percentages for production for citrus fruit were based on 2012 figures, which were 38% in Limpopo, 15% of the total area planted occurred in Mpumalanga and only about 2% was in the Northern Cape.   

Mr Mannya said that he and Dr Bothle Modisane, Chief Director: Animal Production and Health, DAFF, would speak to the management and control of diseases affecting animals, and he read out the initial sections of the attached presentation.  would alternate in doing the second presentation and he subsequently read the initial sections of the presentation.

Mr Mannya handed over to Dr Modisane to talk to the specific diseases as outlined in the presentation.

Dr Bothle Modisane, Chief Director, Animal Production and Health, said that he would be taking the Committee through the identified diseases mentioned in the presentation. He noted that DAFF was not reporting comprehensively on all the diseases, but prioritised those requested by the Committee, and included diseases that could raise trade concerns.

He noted that in 2000, South Africa had lost its disease-free status as a result of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Camperdown, and that had resulted from the introduction of FMD infected swine, who transmitted the disease in turn to cattle. Shortly after that there was another outbreak in Middleburg, Mpumalanga. South Africa regained its status in 2002, but lost it again as a result of an outbreak in Limpopo, and again regained it in 2005. When SA lost its FMD status in 2011 that had been the same status that had been obtained since 2005. The country had been having small outbreaks within the protection zones of the control zone, particularly in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. He read, word for word, the rest of the section.

When SA re-applied for its status, there were several questions that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) wanted clarity on. SA responded to all those questions, but OIE did not grant it immediately, because of the 60 day period in which a decision had to be taken by the Scientific Committee before the general session, and in order for OIE to conduct an inspection visit. It would commence on 3 November 2013.

DAFF had re-applied again in September 2013, and this evaluation was ongoing within the OIE, hopefully to be made known by February 2014.

He noted that there always had been a lament over SA re-establishing what was formally known as a “redline”. When making the 2005 application, SA had challenges related to the old definition of a redline that was still entrenched in legislation, and this was the same for the previous applications for FMD-free status. The “redline” was meant to separate vaccinated cattle from unvaccinated cattle, and was a separation of the old buffer and civilian zones. However, OIE had subsequently combined the zones into a “protection zone”. That created problems with the 2012 application. DAFF maintained that the fact that it had to vaccinate cattle close to the Kruger National Park resulted effectively in a buffer zone. However, since the changed definition, it had to have two zones within the protected one; one where it vaccinated, and one where it did not. OIE had the impression that the DAFF willy-nilly moved the vaccination zone, so DAFF had done away with the redline terminology and was referring to protection zones.

Dr Modisane said, in relation to avian influenza, that the highly pathogenic strain had been prevalent in the Western Cape, and also in some parts of the Eastern Cape in the past. The DAFF reported the highly pathogenic strain in SA as closed. He then read the remainder of the presentation.

The Chairperson said he had had a query in his constituency, that a small holder citrus producer had sent citrus to market, but could not recover her profit because the fruit had been found to have had CBS. She had queried what recourse she had, and if there was any insurance. He felt that a marketing perspective was needed; some regulations had fallen away, others were introduced, there were trade barriers and some retail stores were setting criteria.  

Ms Steyn asked what happened to declined fruit en route to the EU, if it had not even been removed from the container.

Ms Steyn asked DAFF to explain the acronyms and abbreviations, specifically for “DIS” and “PUC”.

Ms Steyn asked whether there was any progress in addressing the EU’s phytosanitary legislation which SA had found to be scientifically unfounded and excessively trade restrictive.

Ms Steyn asked generally what percentage of fruit being exported came from the CBS-infected areas, and how did CBS get transmitted, and whether there were systems in place to monitor the transmission of CBS so that it could be managed within the infected areas.

Ms Steyn said that it was imperative that the Committee get to what the specific problems were in the concurrent functions, and the changes that were needed for veterinary services (VS). It had also been highlighted in the EU Report that there were no clear line functions within the DAFF’s national and provincial VS. She asked if there was really a need for a change in the Constitution, or whether some other terms of reference could be used to give greater synergy between national and provincial VS.

Ms Steyn was concerned that the Health Act No 7 of 2002 was never promulgated, asked why, and asked if this might help in remedying the situation.

Ms Steyn wanted to know when the community services graduates would start working and why there was a lack of extension services. She asked whether the DAFF was making use of private veterinarians, especially in the rural communities. Earlier in the year, horse breeders had called state veterinarians to help with African Horse sickness, but they had apparently said they could not deal with this disease and she wanted to know why there were no guidelines on communicable animal diseases, and emphasised the need to tell veterinarians what diseases must be prioritised.

Ms Steyn wanted specifically to know what was outstanding for FMD freedom status to be reinstated, as requirements for the OIE. The Committee was also waiting on the OIE PDF Report. She asked if the EU Report requirements were to be treated as standards to be in place before SA could move forward.

Ms Steyn emphasised that recurrent problems were around control and the state of the border fences. She heard the plea for support of the review of the veterinarian system and disease control measures, but emphasised the need for DAFF to be specific and to give an indication of the cost. She was also concerned that tuberculosis and contagious abortion (CA) were not included in the diseases that were presented on to the Committee.  

Mr van Dalen asked what the rand value loss would be to GDP if there was a ban on South African citrus or on meat. He asked how many of the DAFF problems were the result of the legislative vacuum to which the Minister had alluded. He asked if the problems were exacerbated by DAFF not being able to employ the best-qualified people, because of the need to reach equity targets.

Mr van Dalen asked why SA simply could not replicate Botswana’s management of animal disease; every 100 km or so there were roadblocks to manage protection zones effectively.

Ms Pilusa-Mosoane said that the CBS issue was taking an exceptionally long time to conclude and asked if there was an end in sight. She wondered whether the DAFF had any remedial mechanism for the prevention of CBS.

Ms Pilusa-Mosoane asked if DAFF had considered using the students that had been sent abroad by the state to fill the vacancies for additional veterinarians. She agreed with Mr van Dalen about the roadblocks, which had been used in South Africa in the past, effectively, to limit disease transmission. FMB prevalence was highest in provinces bordering the Kruger National Park, which meant that FMD probably originated from wildebeest. She asked whether there were no preventative measures that were in place to protect domestic cattle.

Ms Pilusa-Mosoane noted that in 2009 and 2011 there were reports of high infestation cases of salmonella, even though there had been no fatalities reported to the Committee, but in 2013 the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) indicated that there was not sufficient surveillance and inspection of meat products at points of entry into the country. She noted that independently tested samples of those meat products reflected highly dangerous levels of E. coli, salmonella, listeria and infectious bronchitis, and asked how this would endanger people.

Mr Abram said that the Committee did not want to “play the blame game”, but the presentation on animal disease control and management indicated that things were not well. The Committee must remember that the livestock industry in particular was one of the biggest single contributors to the agricultural GDP, at around R25 billion. Poultry, which was also disease prone, played the same contributory role. That was all at producer level, and if the value-add and jobs created, right to the shop assistants packaging the meat at retail stores, it was massive industry that the State needed to protect. Mr Abram quipped that it was not in his nature to keep quiet when people told him of problems, and one of the main problems at the moment, apart from the OIE re-definition, was that the borders were porous. Goal posts were also being shifted.

Mr Abram asked why truckloads of animals were permitted to enter the country from Namibia, and many were in poor genetic and health conditions, causing him to wonder if this would not start other problems when they mixed with local animals. He asked who controlled the movement of animals into South Africa.

Mr Abram said that he had said, in a previous meeting, that some provincial VS were counter-productive; farmers trying to contact the nearest veterinarian to have their animals tested were told that they needed a vehicle, and tools, before they could assist. That was a sad indictment on some of the VS, especially given that the DAFF and VS had to interact constantly with stakeholders. He cited several important stakeholders and asked if DAFF had regular interaction with them, and in what form.

Mr Abram noted Mr Mannya’s plea for some urgent interventions, but said that, with respect, these were not new problems. He could not remember whether the DAFF had ever come to the Committee to say it needed certain changes in legislation; the task of initiating changes mainly lay with DAFF because it had the resources to do that. He noted, however, that legislation was only a broad framework and did not actually cause delivery; DAFF needed the right people to implement legislation and it appeared that was where the problems lay. He did not know how to fast-track that, but Ms Pilusa-Mosoane proposed that personnel might be sent abroad for skilling. There was a need for local intervention. There were certain tertiary institutions in SA that offered veterinary courses. His advice to the DAFF was to build stronger partnerships, and to build relationships without any hidden agenda, with a focus on safeguarding and developing industries, to achieve better results.

Mr Abram noted that DAFF had spoke to the lack of animal identification, but he thought animals were registered, identified and branded. The State must, however, recognise that 48% of cattle belonged to those in the deep rural areas, who were not knowledgeable of the law, and so DAFF needed to sharpen its focus, and to try and to partner with the organisations that worked with those rural citizens -like African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), to register, and perhaps offer field officers to do what extension workers were supposed to be doing. DAFF had to be proactive and find ways to work around their challenges.

Mr Abram noted DAFF’s point that there were a limited number of people with veterinary and animal health background. However, he believed that most live animal farmers had some scientific knowledge, as it was in their interests to ensure that their animals were healthy, and he suggested that DAFF needed to partner with these people. The presentation was asking the Committee to consider if funding levels for animal health and VS were adequate. If not, then DAFF might need to make out a special case to National Treasury, but would have to align that to service delivery. DAFF must think out of the box, and best use the human potential that was already in place. He advised the Committee that when he had asked one of his farm labourers to uproot an alien shrub, the labourer had told him animals ate it to help their digestion – and that was precisely the type of indigenous knowledge that could assist in putting the animal industry on a sounder footing. 

The Chairperson noted the contradiction between Mr Abram’s assertion that not all was well, and the fact that the industry was worth R25 billion. If the meat industry was quantified at that figure, this suggested that something was working properly, so to say that “all was not well” was an exaggeration. He said that if a legislative vacuum existed for too long, people would begin to think that no legislation was needed, and that would confuse the country ultimately.

He also noted that DAFF had been functional in getting groups, such as the wool shearers, and the red meat producers, to Parliament, which assisted on the licensing and contracting. Whilst actions may not have taken place as fast as desired, there had been a semblance of establishing working structures, which was important. Concerns about the animal industry sparked this meeting today, because the industry had not got an immediate response from DAFF, so the Committee, as public representatives, had become involved. He commented that the red meat producers were of course entitled to bring lawyers, although he had asked them why they did not rely on the Parliamentarians as their public representatives. Both the Committee and DAFF had a responsibility to respond to concerns of the industry. He agreed that the Committee needed to encourage more of the partnerships that Mr Abram had alluded to, and would be asking for more progress updates, in the presence perhaps of other affected parties. DAFF needed to be encouraged to do more. There were indeed challenges in DAFF, but it could not be said that all was doom and gloom. DAFF must be motivated to do more.

Ms Phaliso asked for an indication of the DAFFs recruitment of any of the students trained abroad, who had now returned. She also asked if DAFF and the Departments of Education were negotiating on syllabus changes or direction of learners; if not, she suggested the need to do this.

Ms Phaliso cautioned her colleagues about making any statements with racial overtones.

Ms Steyn said that the Committee needed to also put things in perspective. The animal industry, as a whole, was seriously frustrated. She understood that the DAFF was also frustrated, but thought that there was a difference between the previous meetings with the wool producers, and the current meeting. There had been a meeting the previous day between the animal industries and the DAFF, and she urged the Committee to get a full impact report on the animal production and trade because she did not think that amount had been quantified – it could run into billions if all meat and animal industries were combined. There were some serious problems on the ground; she was not attempting to apportion blame but wanted to bring problems to light, so that they could be fixed. One of the reasons that SA had become a net importer of agricultural goods in 2012, was to do with the impact of animal health and disease on trade. Animal health had not only to do with meat, but also live animal research and trading. She wanted to read out some sections of the EU Report. If these were not fixed, the animosity and difficulty between the DAFF and the industries would remain, and each of their agendas could not be discounted. The EU Report said that on one occasion horses that had been tested positive for African Horse Sickness (AHS) at isolation stations were released. She was informed that birds imported into the country which had tested positive for low pathogenic influenza, had been released, and this had caused the bird flu infestation in Gauteng.

The Chairperson interjected at this point that Members should not suggest mistrust between DAFF and stakeholders without making a positive intervention.

Ms Steyn said her point was that nobody actually knew the truth of the allegations and counter-allegations.

She proposed that possibly one of the reasons for the CBS issue was the communication breakdown at the Perishable Products Export and Control Board (PPECB). She had asked before, even as an interim measure, to have a body established for animals. She knew that there was a veterinarians working group in place, but was told that working group was not functioning properly, and had not seen the OIE Report, so did not know exactly what needed to be resolved. Trust had to be established. There were  constitutional, implementation, legislative and budgetary issues secondary to the issue of trust. She pleaded again for the establishment or reconfiguration of the existing VS working group, to get a body that was inclusive of the industry. She also asked why Mr van Dalen and Ms Pilusa-Mosoane’s proposals could not be effected between provinces and across borders, to manage the transmission of animal diseases. She proposed further that the Committee come up with timeframes for the review of animal disease control measures. May 2014, the original date for the holistic review, was just too far away. The challenges were too severe and they simply needed to be listed, costed and budgeted for, so DAFF could start working on them.

Mr Mannya replied that there were a lot of issues for DAFF to process, beyond answering the questions posed. DAFF took positively the comments that it must deal with issues of perception and trust.

Some of the issues that had been raised had no single causative factor, and DAFF was speaking to the entire system. DAFF had also noted some of the strategies that had been used in the previous dispensation, and in Botswana and was working through an evolving system, globally and nationally. DAFF was talking about the holistic review because the time had come to stop merely patching some problems. However, if South Africa was to implement the type of measures that Botswana had, it would have to involve the police, the defence force and traffic services, and consider the impact of restricting movement of individuals not in the agricultural sector.

Dr Japhta apologised for using acronyms without defining them in parts of his presentation. ‘DIS’ stood for Directorate Inspection Service and ‘PUC’ stood for Production Unit Code, which dealt with the DAFFs traceability issues. ‘PHC’ referred to pack house code.

Dr Japhta firstly addressed the questions around CBS, and said that sometimes technical issues were being used as a trade barrier. United States had, until recently, also held the EU view that fruit was the pathway through which CBS was transmitted, until it found it also in its own fruit. South Africa had used all the  consensual dispute resolution mechanisms available within the international trade arena, and even those had been delayed, creating the impression that there were other issues at play. South Africa could only play by the rules. It might have to start being creative and work on access to other markets.

Dr Japhta said that a full EU ban on South African citrus exports would be in the order of a loss of foreign exchange earnings of approximately R3 billion and job losses in the order of 30 000, according to estimates from the citrus growers association, when the DAFF was working with it on a plan to deal with the CBS issue. DAFF had worked together with industry all along, establishing a common working group, when dealing with the five interceptions threshold.

He explained that CBS was unfortunately a progressive disease, which meant that detection sometimes was not immediate, and some of the lesions developed en route to the market. Where fruit originated from production units later detected with CBS, the fruit already en route would be diverted to other markets. The economic loss of this diversion still had to be calculated, for the new channels may not result in as high export earnings. DAFF still needed to look into insurance at the broader level. It would make the full CBS Traceability systems and risk management documentation. With regard to the reference that the EU had adopted a certain approach, he noted that the final AFSA opinion was not yet available on the pest risk assessment. DAFF was concerned that the industry had the perception that the EU had changed its position, although this would only in fact be revealed when the AFSA opinion had been published.

DAFF had a CBS Committee that included the DAFF, the industry and the PPECB and it was functional up until the extent that all the partners continued to meaningfully engage.

Dr Mpho Maja, Director: Animal Health, DAFF, answered Ms Steyn’s point that she had been awaiting the requirements from the OIE, via the DAFF. Dr Modisane had pointed out that the DAFF had submitted the dossier to the OIE in 2012, for it to evaluate the FMD status. The DAFF legislation was not up to date with the current OIE terminology, which had confused the OIE to the detriment of DAFF.

Dr Maja pointed out that the quality of fencing had altered and it was a pity that Ms Steyn had not been part of the oversight committee that had seen this in KwaZulu Natal. She confirmed that in the Kruger National Park, there were permanently-infected Wildebeest and there was nothing that the DAFF could do to stop trans-generational transmission, although it did try its best to keep the wildebeest from coming into contact with domestic cattle. If there was contact, the cattle were immunised and protected from the wildebeest, both by being vaccinated, and by movement of cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals being restricted from the protection zone into the rest of the country, in compliance with South African legislation and the OIE requirements. They were only moved when going for direct slaughter at designated abattoirs.

Dr Maja said that the truck loads of imported cattle from Namibia were regulated by the DAFF, to ensure the health status of those animals, and to not jeopardize the cattle head count health status of South African cattle. The DAFF had regular negotiations and agreements with the Namibian Veterinarian Authorities, so all the truck loads coming across the border would be accompanied by an import permit from the DAFF and a veterinary health certificate from the Namibian veterinary authorities, according to agreed protocols. However the quantities fell under a different section all together, and that could be a trade issue with regard to tariffs and limiting the quantities of animals allowed to come into the country.

Dr Modisane said that the Animal Health Act 7 of 2002 had not been promulgated because of the challenges the DAFF had already identified, related to the intentions of the Act which were literally going to provincialise animal disease management further. The current Animal Diseases Act allowed for a semblance of control from the Director of Animal Health at National level. If the 2002 Act was  promulgated, DAFF would have to come up with norms and standards and monitor their implementation. The challenges with the Meat Safety Act were related to delegation of responsibility to the provinces and then having to audit.

Dr Modisane explained the numbers and capacity problems. There had been natural attrition of directors of veterinary services from the previous dispensation, many of whom retired. In the current batch, there would be further fragmentation of the line of command, and the signs were already apparent. That also explained why DAFF had not previously requested legislative amendments.

Dr Modisane confirmed that compulsory community service would be implemented soon after the promulgation of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Profession Act. The DAFF had been drafting regulations and also consulting with the industries and the students. Students were asking to be informed one year before the compulsory community service started. DAFF had not completed the entire regulation process, and a number of concerns had recently been raised during a meeting at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, and were being incorporated into the new regulations. It was possible that DAFF might do a dry run of the community service implementation in 2014, although lack of notice to students might be a problem, so it was rather looking to start at the end of 2014. In the community service implementation, provision had to be made for sending students to that had to be settled around that, and one was the preparation for the outgoing students to the remote rural areas, including ensuring adequate facilities for them, as well as upgrading of its HR policy to deal with this.

Dr Modisane agreed that TB and brucellosis, particularly, were particularly virulent, and that was why the DAFF had said that it had been guided by the Committee as to the interests in diseases – he agreed that not all had been mentioned. Both TB and brucellosis were a serious problem in the country and there were challenges identified with the vaccines, and DAFF was looking into how to manage those. TB was problematic, although it was controlled under the scheme just established.  In the past there had been major challenges related to how DAFF dealt with its control. When a cow was diagnosed with TB, the owner was advised to cull, and the State would pay “fair market value” to the owner, or, if it was found later not to have TB, the owner would get the full slaughter value. However, there had been problems with owners claiming the genetic value; about double the meat-worth. Dr Modisane thought that it was irresponsible for the DAFF to pay that amount of money, which the state could ill-afford, and the question of market value was itself was a subject for legislative review.

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) was another disease causing havoc in the country, but the DAFF had managed to eradicate it. There had been three introductions of PRRS into the country, of the American and the European strains respectively.  The disease was eradicated with the help of the South African Pork Producers Association (SAPPA). DAFF had said that the State could not compensate, but the industry said it would help, in return for future protection from the State. After a long battle and evaluation of scientific information, DAFF implemented import measures, which were now proving quite difficult. However, it was dealing with the issues and PRRS was currently not a problem.

In terms of the responses to  salmonella, listeria and all the other diseases, Dr Modisane said that no doubt SAPA would claim that DAFF was not doing enough. However, poultry importers might complain that there were too many restrictions. Salmonella was a dangerous disease even for human beings, and exported meat had to be certified as salmonella-free. DAFF merely checked that the certification of exported meat had indeed been tested, through taking a representative sample – and whether this was over- or under-sampling depended on the industry perspective. It was a balancing act.

Dr Modisane said that DAFF agreed with many of Mr Abram’s points, but the DAFF was looking within industries, and the perspective depended on which specific sector of an industry was involved. For instance, the red meat producers were not currently attending meetings of the livestock industry. A meeting was planned for the next day to try and revitalise the relationship between DAFF National and the provincial functions on livestock matters, to supplement the current structures of veterinarian working group and the animal health matters.

Mr Mannya added that there was a shortage of human resource development and human resource management, due to equity targets in part, but also because the skills were generally short in the sector. The reasons for this ranged from limited training opportunities, to the mathematics and sciences requirements, to attitudes. There were limited intakes of students, but Mr Mannya understood that the University of Pretoria would increase its intake of students. South Africa’s training was of a standard that those locally trained were permitted to practice in other countries, particularly those in the Commonwealth, without requiring additional accreditation, and that made veterinarians relatively mobile. Even if DAFF increased its graduate output, there would still be attrition, although DAFF was continuously strengthening the training internally, and investigating it internationally, including with Cuba. In time, South Africa’s own learning environment would adequately supply the skills to the industry and the state. A holistic view was being taken.

Mr Mannya confirmed that at the moment, DAFF had no arrangement with Cuba for veterinarians but was exploring this.

Ms Steyn said that Dr Maja always responded to her questions, but what she had said that day concerning the FMD freedom of application to the OIE simply could not be based on the differing jargon, according to the EU Report comments. She proposed that DAFF should table the OIE Report, so that everyone knew what it contained, to enable the Committee and DAFF and stakeholders then to plan how to move forward.  

The Chairperson said that Dr Maja had raised an issue relating to the status of the FMD on the KZN- border, and the need for collaboration. However, he pointed out that there was already a  multidisciplinary structure that coordinated that.

The Chairperson related the outstanding matters for the following day.

The meeting was adjourned.



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