Relief for riots but not for bird flu

The government has approved R1.5 billion in relief for businesses hit by the riots in July. This includes R85 million for cane growers whose crops were burned, and could not be sold.

This is quick and welcome relief, but it throws into contrast the refusal by the same government to compensate poultry farmers for the losses sustained when millions of healthy chickens had to be culled because of bird flu outbreaks.

Compensation for mandatory cullings is recognised across the world as a measure that not only supports farmers who could face financial ruin, it also encourages reporting of outbreaks of bird flu and thus helps control measures to stop the disease spreading.

Yet the government persists in its refusal to pay compensation for outbreaks in 2017, and has continued that policy this year.