The lack of fencing in the communal areas in North West poses a threat to both commercial and communal agriculture.
This is according to Victor Moagi, chairperson of the National Emergent Red Meat Producers Organisation (NERPO) in North West. He called on the provincial authorities to act urgently, because farming in communal areas is severely compromised by the lack of fences.
“Livestock wander at will,” he said. “Often, large numbers of animals gather on ploughed soils, compacting them so much it’s impossible to plough. Crops are also destroyed. This has also contributed to high levels of stock theft. Livestock that wanders on public roads is a danger to motorists and has caused numerous accidents and even deaths.”
Moagi’s call followed a news release by the North West MEC for agriculture and rural development, Boitumelo Tshwene, petitioning local communities to stop stealing the fences in communal areas. Tshwene called it “a serious setback for the development of rural farming areas”.
“People who are guilty of these offences dishonour the department’s (of agriculture and rural development) efforts to improve the condition of arable lands and are a total disgrace to the growing agricultural sector,” he said. “We’re fencing off fields to prevent livestock from roaming and damaging crops and to prevent the impounding of trespassing animals. For the current financial year, the department has erected fences of more than 135km at a cost of nearly R2 million.”
Eric van Wyk, North West chairperson of the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) said he has been in contact with the authorities about the lack of fences since 2000, but to no avail. “The fence between the communal areas and the commercial farms north-west of Mafikeng, for instance, is in total disrepair. Large areas of privately owned land have been invaded by livestock from communal areas, especially in Mareetsane. We can’t impound the animals as there are only two registered pounds in the province, in Lichtenburg and Rustenburg.
“This has markedly depreciated the value of our land. Animal diseases have increased alarmingly and incidences of brucellosis and trichomoniasis have tripled over the last few years.” – Annelie Coleman