by Ismail Obaray – DA Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform
Date: 24 October 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA welcomes the eventual accreditation of the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture’s state veterinary laboratory in Kimberley.
The veterinary services unit has the very important task of preventing and controlling animal diseases. Given the growing number of animal diseases in the country and the province, such as the Avian Influenza outbreaks across South Africa, the recent outbreak of African swine fever on a farm near Delportshoop, and a botulism outbreak that claimed 150 baboons in Calvinia which eventually resulted in a number of sheep deaths in the province, the department simply cannot afford to neglect animal health.
For years, the laboratory lacked the necessary accreditation, posing a threat to animal health in the province.
The laboratory was dogged by a broken incinerator and emergency shower. There was also poor access control and there was no Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Policy in place, while healthcare waste deficiencies existed in the laboratory. As a result, there was also an unnaturally high staff turnover rate at the facility.
Since 2015, the DA has aggressively placed pressure on the department, by way of raising the issue in portfolio committee meetings and exposing it in the media, to rectify the ongoing inefficiencies within the department’s veterinary services programme.
We are pleased to note that the department took our concerns to heart and has finally cleared all the non-conformances against it and received necessary accreditation, including being the first laboratory in the country to be accredited for sheep scab.
The DA encourages the department to ensure that it maintains the high standards it has eventually achieved in its laboratory service. In this regard, we will continue to monitor future budget allocations for the laboratory to ensure that all facilities remain functional and up to date.