AfriForum lashes Government over its share in listeriosis deaths
12 March 2018
The civil rights organisation AfriForum today warned Government to also take responsibility for the outbreak of listeriosis and the subsequent deaths.
Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum, says that Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, should not only point the finger at food companies. “He now acts as if his Department is innocent by punishing food companies and supporting families of victims in their legal actions, while the crisis probably emanated from and was most definitely exacerbated by poor Government action.”
This is the largest outbreak of listeriosis in world history. “The disease was contained in other countries long before the death rate had reached 200. Why was the source of the outbreak not found sooner? Where were the health inspectors who had to do their jobs and why did municipalities not fulfil their duties properly? These are the questions that should be asked, especially since the crisis is not yet under complete control,” Brink continues.
The SACP and the EFF at the same time absolve Government from any blame, while scolding the food industry as the only culprit and calling for more regulation. They even congratulate Government on its handling of the crisis and punish the food industry, while more people have died from negligence or deliberate actions in government hospitals or from polluted municipal water.
Brink says Government has still not announced or taken any steps to further contain listeriosis since the Enterprise factory in Polokwane had been identified as a possible source. “Dr Francois Mellett, an independent meat expert from Stellenbosch told Rapport that Government’s current certainty would be proven wrong. Experts also told the newspaper that they didn’t believe the Enterprise factory to be so unhygienic that it was the only or even main source of listeriosis.”
AfriForum is busy compiling a report on listeriosis to properly analyse the crisis. “We will consult with independent experts in this regard. The issue is being oversimplified and we want to uncover the truth,” Brink concludes.
Issued by Natasha Venter, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 12 March 2018