Cattle farmers and livestock auctioneers in the North West are taking the Ministry of Agriculture to court over its decision to ban the movement and selling of livestock.

A countrywide ban was imposed, following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Limpopo.

Bleeding from the closure of their businesses, cattle farmers and auctioneers say only the affected areas should have been quarantined. The ban has resulted in huge financial distress for the industry.

The Department of Agriculture cannot confirm when restrictions on the sale and movement of cattle will be lifted amid the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Department spokesperson, Reggie Ngcobo says, “We can confirm that there’s no decision that has been taken to uplift the ban of movement of animals. But what we are doing as the department, we are working very closely with the industry to come up with movement control measures to ensure that when the Minister is advised to uplift the ban then there are control measures. We can confirm there are 14 farms that are affected in Limpopo with almost 20 000 cattle.”

It has now been two months since Onderstepoort confirmed the latest outbreak. Infected cattle were found on eleven farms and feedlots in Limpopo.

The properties, as well as those adjacent, were placed under quarantine.

Farmers, auctioneers, feedlots and exporters could lose millions as their businesses remain closed.

Subsistence farmers are the hardest hit as sales make up the bulk of their income at this time of year.