Minister must brief the public on Bird Flu – Annette Steyn

DA says scale of outbreak is unprecedented in SA with more than 260 000 birds being culled already

DA calls for Minister to brief the public on Bird Flu

13 July 2017

The DA will write to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, to brief the public on his plan of action to combat the bird flu now that the virus has spread from three farms in Mpumalanga to Gauteng.

The scale of this outbreak is unprecedented in South Africa as we have never had a bird flu outbreak in our chickens before. Now, more than 260 000 birds have been culled.

Given that the virus is spreading, it is high time the Minister brief the public on what measures are in place to ensure the virus is stopped, the roughly 130 000 jobs that the poultry industry creates and the almost 140 million chickens in South Africa are saved.

Minister Zokwana therefore needs to urgently address the following questions in the public briefing:

- Update the people of South Africa on how far the bird flu has spread;

- What measures are in place to stop it;

- How many countries have already suspended the trade of raw meat, eggs and live birds from South Africa;

- Expected export losses from suspended trade;

- The effect on the thousands of jobs of the informal sector that are at risk;

- How much money has been allocated to combatting Bird Flu;

- Has any emergency funding has been made available; and

- Will farmers will be appropriately compensated for the loss of their stock.

There are incredibly serious implications for the poultry industry. Our country simply cannot afford for the Minister to be silent in the face of this impending crisis.

The DA will not stand by while thousands of jobs are put at risk by ANC-led government inaction.

Issued by Annette Steyn, DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 13 July 2017