Following the implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent announcement that the agricultural sector has been declared an essential service in terms of Regulation no. 398 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002), Minister Ivan Meyer recently confirmed that the Western Cape Veterinary Export Certification Office (VECO) will remain open during the lockdown period.
“The Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Export Certification Office plays a crucial role in supporting agricultural export in our province,” he explained.
VECO’s important role in agriculture
The VECO issues approximately 1 600 export permits per month with a total value of R5 billion per annum, thereby underlining the significant role agriculture plays in the economy of the Western Cape. The service will remain open during office hours.
Two veterinarians and four inspectors remain on duty to ensure that the inspection of export consignments and the issuing of health certificates continue and service to the export market is not disrupted.
No physical meetings
Attention was drawn to the fact that due to the current circumstances, officials will not be accepting physical meetings. Clients have been requested to make enquiries electronically and to make applications via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officials will communicate via email once the documents are ready for collection or if any additional information is required to complete the application process. This is done to minimise contact and limit infection to food factories.
Contingency plans are in place
While additional hygiene measures have been implemented at the Milnerton office, a further three veterinarians and one chief public veterinarian officer will be on standby should the Milnerton office need to be quarantined and an alternative office has to be used.
Listen to Minister Meyer’s announcement here:
After-hour services for inspections and attending to any export-related emergencies will continue to be rendered. – Press release, Western Cape Government