Further to the recent announcement in May 2021 regarding the funding agreement between SAEHP (SA Equine Health and Protocols), the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (NHA), SAEHP wishes to update industry stakeholders on ongoing operations.
By way of a background, SAEHP operates in a public-private partnership with the South African veterinary authorities to operate and manage South Africa’s equine disease control systems. SAEHP officials are authorised to conduct these duties under the terms of the Animal Diseases Act and report to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development Director of Animal Health as regards the furtherance of these duties. SAEHP also actively seeks to facilitate the reinstatement of direct exports from South Africa.
As part of the aforementioned funding agreement, and to further encourage industry stakeholder involvement in this crucial export initiative, the structure of SAEHP has been enhanced by the formation of a local Steering Committee, which significant funders of SAEHP to date were invited to join.
The enhanced structure of SAEHP operates as follows: Board – Chairman of SAEHP, David Abery, leads a board consisting of Mike de Kock, Vaughan Koster, and Managing Director Adrian Todd. Steering Committee – complementing the board is a newly formed local steering committee, which meets regularly and tables both strategic and operational matters. The Steering Committee provides strategic advice and counsel and comprises of David Abery (SAEHP and Chair), Dr John Grewar (SAEHP), Steven Jell (Mauritzfontein), Hazel Kayiya (NHA), Grant Knowles (CTS), Vaughan Koster (TBA), Jehan Malherbe (Wilgerbosdrift), Michel Nairac (Gold Circle), Bradley Ralph (Kenilworth Racing), Susan Rowett (NHA), Fundi Sithebe (4Racing), Kevin Sommerville (Drakenstein Stud), Adrian Todd (SAEHP), and Natalie Turner (Racing Assoc).
SAEHP and the NHA also participate in regular strategic meetings with the HKJC. This combination of local and international industry expertise coupled with a professional lobbying strategy and internationally respected scientific advisors working in tandem with South Africa’s veterinary authorities and other government departments provides SAEHP with a broad set of expertise from which to draw in the efforts to reinstate direct exports. SAEHP again wishes to thank the HKJC for their funding and for their involvement and input into SAEHP’s strategy and export initiatives.
Recent communication with both the EU and the South African authorities indicates that while the EU does not envisage current COVID-19 travel policies and restrictions to enable any physical audits outside of the EU in the remainder of 2021, South Africa has been placed on the list for a 2022 equine audit. No date is currently available, as this is primarily dependent on COVID-19 restrictions. SAEHP and the South African government are committed to achieving the re-scheduling of the audit as soon as possible.
SAEHP and the South African authorities continue to maintain an audit readiness footing. Proof of freedom from disease, within South Africa’s AHS control zones, of which the free zone is the only location from which the EU/SA export protocol allows exports is something that is accumulated over time; one has to show historical data proving freedom from disease. It is for this reason that disease controls can’t be stopped and then re-started. SAEHP is aware of recent media statements expressing dissatisfaction with some of the movement control regulations. SAEHP strives to operate in a cycle of continuous improvement and stakeholder consultation. In the coming weeks, SAEHP will undertake a stakeholder consultative process as part of our pre-audit preparations and to address stakeholder concerns and collectively seek solutions, where possible, within the legislated framework of the veterinary procedural notice. The stakeholder consultation process is a vital part of maintaining the legislated protocols with input from those at the coalface of day to day movement of horses.