The Democratic Alliance (DA) is worried by the potential risk presented by an episode of Anthrax in Lesotho to individuals and animals in the Free State.
DA MPL in the Free State Dr Roy Jankielsohn said in an announcement on Thursday said what was of concern is that Lesotho shares an enormous area of its worldwide fringe with the Free State.
“The fact that this border is very porous regarding the movement of both people and livestock, which is not restricted to official ports of entry and exit, makes it important that the province puts measures in place to deal with a potential Anthrax threat,” Jankielsohn said.
Jankielsohn said measures to deal with this threat would have to recognise that livestock from Lesotho were brought across the border to graze illegally on border farms in the eastern Free State and that people who crossed the border on a daily basis to seek employment, to work, to do business and to obtain medical assistance in the Free State might have been in contact with infected animals.
“It is for these reasons that I have written to the newly appointed MEC responsible for the department of agriculture and rural development in the Free State, Mr William Bulwane, to request him to work closely with the Department of Health, especially with the monitoring of patients at hospitals and clinics along the border of Lesotho and beyond,” Jankielsohn said
Bulwane has also been requested to alert the South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force, who are responsible for border point and border-line control respectively, to the potential threat and put measures in place to monitor this threat through among others awareness of symptoms in both humans and animals.
“Furthermore, assistance needs to be sought from the national government in order to ensure that the outbreak is restricted in Lesotho and managed effectively in that country, through quarantine and other measures.
“All the necessary stakeholders in the province need to be informed of measures to minimise and neutralise any threats that this may have for the health of our people and the agricultural sector in the Free State.
“The threat of porous borders is not restricted to illegal immigration and criminal activities, but also regarding health issues affecting our people and their livestock.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)