ICYMI: Western Cape rabies fears are back

Rabies is a contagious viral disease that causes damage to the brain and the spinal cord and is uniformly fatal, affecting both animals and humans. Photo: Supplied

Rabies is a contagious viral disease that causes damage to the brain and the spinal cord and is uniformly fatal, affecting both animals and humans. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

After the panic of two rabies cases that had been reported in the Western Cape mere months ago, another has emerged in the Gordon’s Bay area and pet owners are once again urged to have their animals vaccinated.

The two previous cases of rabies had been discovered in Khayelitsha in August, and were followed by intensified vaccination drives.

The Western Cape department of agriculture confirmed that a case of rabies was recently reported in Gordon’s Bay, after what has been described as “an aggressive, medium-sized” dog had attacked several other dogs in the area.

Speaking to News24, MEC Ivan Meyer said the dog was euthanised on 29 September. One of the vet staff members who examined the dog was reportedly also bitten in the process.

The total number of human rabies cases in South Africa now stands at seven this year, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The instances were reported in the provinces of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Johannesburg produce market official arrested

A senior financial controller at the Johannesburg fresh produce market in City Deep has been arrested in connection with a R5.5 million scam. Her accomplices, it appears, have already escaped to another country.

The woman was apprehended on Monday, according to Dudu Lushaba, a spokesperson for the City of Johannesburg. Authorities are looking for her accomplices, believed to be a co-worker and a friend.

The woman will face fraud charges in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court. She was allegedly permitted to administer buyers’ assurances with a colleague who worked as a compliance accountant at the market. “The guarantees were loaded into a buyer’s card belonging to a deceased person without the required supporting documents from the bank,” Lushaba said to TimesLive.

In October of last year, the card was reactivated and loaded with R40 000 in guarantees. The guarantees were raised to R600 000 in March of this year, and then to R5.5 million in July.

The couple allegedly cooperated with a third person who used the card to buy fruit and vegetables at the market and then sold them to various business owners at a discount. “The three suspects then pocketed the proceeds from the sales,” said Lushaba.

Western Cape utilises tech to fight rural crime

In response to the Western Cape government’s undertaking to create safer communities, the Western Cape department of agriculture has established a rural safety desk and a rural safety monitoring dashboard.

Western Cape minister of agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“The desk provides a platform for the public, farmers, producers, agri-workers and agricultural stakeholders to log enquiries, queries and matters on rural safety. Information logged via the desk is populated on the department’s innovative rural safety monitoring dashboard,” MEC Ivan Meyer said in a statement.

Currently, 40 cases have been logged on the rural safety dashboard.

“The dashboard will assist in identifying rural crime hotspots as well as inform data-led rural safety interventions to improve safety within rural and agricultural communities across the province. A spatial representation of incidences of crime enables us to develop appropriate strategies in response to the safety needs of our farming communities,” he added.

Information gathered through the rural safety helpdesk and the rural safety monitoring dashboard is shared with the police and the department of community safety’s court-watching brief unit.

“The court-watching brief unit assists with making follow-ups on rural safety-related cases. Furthermore, the unit’s representatives attend court sessions with the sole purpose to ensure that rural crime-related cases are successfully prosecuted,” concluded Meyer.

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