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Thu, 08 Mar 2018
Listeria outbreak: SA neighbours ban meat exports

Four countries in southern Africa on Monday took steps against South African chilled meat imports made at a factory found to be the origin of the world’s worst-ever listeria outbreak.

Mozambique and Namibia announced they were immediately suspending imports of the products. Botswana said it was recalling the items “with immediate effect”, while Zambia called on South African retail chains in its country to pull the incriminated goods from local shelves.

Since January 2017, 948 people in South Africa have contracted listeriosis – a disease caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which can contaminate fresh food, notably meat.

At least 180 have died, according to official figures.

Health officials say the source of the outbreak was an Enterprise Food plant, 300km northeast of the South African capital of Pretoria.

Queues formed outside Enterprise sites in South Africa as angry consumers and small retailers gathered to demand refunds on their purchases of ready-to-eat meat products that include polony -a local version of baloney sausage – sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages.

“I’ve eaten already some polony and Russian (sausage). I don’t know, maybe I can get some disease,” said taxi driver Bongani Mavuso as he queued outside Enterprise’s factory shop in Germiston, Johannesburg to seek a refund. “I’m just coming to collect my money.”

On Sunday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi took the unprecedented step of advising South Africans to avoid eating all processed meat products sold as “ready to eat” after announcing Enterprise as the outbreak’s source.

The Department of Health ordered retailers to immediately recall affected products.

The chief executive of Tiger Brands, which owns Enterprise, denied that its products had been shown to be responsible for the deaths.

“There is no direct link with the deaths to our products,” Lawrence MacDougall told a news conference.

‘Devastating’ to be linked to outbreak 

MacDougall did acknowledge that the government had linked the ST6 strain of listeria bacteria detected in Enterprise facilities with the outbreak that has resulted in 180 deaths.

“We are being extra cautious and vigilant, we are recalling all products made from the two facilities affected,” he said, adding that the government had only ordered the company to withdraw three product lines.

“Any loss of life is tragic. It is devastating for me to have our products linked to this outbreak.”

Enterprise-branded products accounted for 28.2 percent of processed meat sales in South Africa in 2017. The local market was worth 6.02 billion rand ($500 million) last year alone.

Tiger Brands, one of South Africa’s food giants, made pre-tax profits of 4.27 billion rands ($360 million) in 2017.

South Africa’s two largest supermarket operators, Shoprite and Pick n Pay, have also pulled products made by Rainbow Chickens after Motsoaledi confirmed that listeria had been identified in samples taken from one of its facilities.

Additional precautionary measure

Motsoaledi said on Sunday that Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken’s registration to export their products outside of South Africa had been temporarily suspended. Namibia also said it was suspending imports from Rainbow Chickens.

As fears of listeria continued to rise in South Africa, several other smaller food retailers have also announced [...]

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Tue, 29 Aug 2017
South African companies participate in FACIM

South African companies will today participate in the 53rd edition of the Maputo International Trade Fair, commonly known as FACIM. FACIM is an international multi-sectoral trade fair held annually to showcase Mozambique as an attractive destination for trade and investment.

The 20-member business delegation is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme with the aim of increasing exports of South African manufactured products to Mozambique.

The objective of the scheme is to develop export markets for South African products and services and to recruit new foreign direct investment into the country.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the trade fair will expose South African companies to trade and investment opportunities available in Mozambique and other countries participating in the exhibition.

Managing executive of Port Elizabeth-based Fred Footwear, Ronald Eboru, said his company is on the mission to explore opportunities in Southern Africa with the aim of exporting their products to several countries in the region.

“Our mission for going to Mozambique is two-fold. We want to gain knowledge and insight into the market in the country, and thereafter sit down and develop a strategy for converting the market knowledge into business,” said Eboru.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Tekweni Foods, George Fletcher, said participating in the trade fair will provide his Durban based company with an opportunity to search for export opportunities in Mozambique and the neighbouring countries.

“We are optimistic that our products will attract the attention of businesspeople who will be visiting the exhibition. We are specifically targeting supermarkets, wholesalers, retailers and distribution agents so that we can negotiate long-term deals that can result in us exporting our products to Mozambique and other countries,” said Fletcher.

Meanwhile, South African High Commissioner to Mozambique, Mandisi Mpahlwa, said the participation of South African companies in FACIM could not have come at a more opportune time as the country’s economy is recovering from the challenges it experienced last year.

“The Mozambican economy is in the process of recovering from the challenges that it experienced last year. The government has not only committed to ensuring that the expected economic growth of 4.6% for 2017 is achieved, but it is also reaching out to the private sector and soliciting its active participation and support as an important partner in stimulating the country’s economic growth,” said the High Commissioner.

He added that in an attempt to woo business and gain its confidence, the Mozambican government has recently hosted two major conferences on infrastructure development and investment to engage business.

“The conferences, which outlined the country’s infrastructure development projects and identified investment opportunities in various sectors, demonstrated the government’s resolute determination to accelerate the growth of the Mozambican economy.”

Mpahlwa said it was an opportune time for South African companies to seek investment opportunities and also contribute in strengthening the economic relations and growing trade between the two countries.

The High Commissioner said the timing of the companies’ arrival was also perfect as it came hot on the heels of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa [...]

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Wed, 23 Aug 2017
Thousands of animals from KZN head for Mozambique

More than 2 000 animals from KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland are on the move in a major wildlife shifting operation – to boost tourism in a depleted game reserve near the Mozambique capital, Maputo.

Over the last six years, about 1 700 animals have been moved to the Maputo Special Elephant Reserve – once home to large groups of elephant, rhino and antelope.

This year, another 2 700 animals – mostly antelope species – are being moved from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Swaziland game parks to the Maputo reserve, with financial support from the World Bank and the Stellenbosch-based Peace Parks Foundation.

A massive 3km-long suspension bridge from Maputo to Catembe and a 209km tar road from Maputo to Ponta do Ouro is currently under construction by the Chinese Road and Bridge Corporation at a cost of $725m.

“Maputo Special Reserve and the Ponta do Ouro marine reserve are set to become major tourist destinations thanks to the new tarred road and bridge that will cut travel time from Maputo to the reserves to just 45 minutes,” said Peace Parks Foundation chief executive Werner Myburgh.

Conservation links

Mozambican conservation agency director-general Bartolomeu Soto said the translocation would provide a significant boost to the trans-frontier conservation links between SA, Swaziland and Mozambique.

A recent survey suggests there are now more than 6 200 herbivore species in the Maputo Special Reserve. Apart bringing in giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck from KZN, Swaziland and Mozambique’s Gorongosa Reserve, Myburgh said there were also plans to bring buffalo from Namibia.

“By adding another 2 300 animals this year, it will completely transform the Maputo reserve into a sought-after wildlife destination. The next step will be to start investing into more tourism accommodation and infrastructure,” the foundation said.

The scenic Maputo reserve has numerous inland lakes and large open plains, close to the specially-protected Ponta do Ouro marine reserve popular with divers.


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