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Mpumalanga - Around 48 pregnant Drakensberger cows were left to starve to death during the past month at the Mpumalanga government's farm Athole, near Ermelo, Beeld reported on Friday.
The animals were part of a herd of stud cattle on the farm, which has been set aside for developing farmers.
Members of the police's cattle theft unit, and the SPCA arrived on the farm on Thursday after they had been informed about the neglected animals.
Within viewing distance of the farm's offices and living quarters, there were five rotting carcasses on the ground, while at another location, several cows had become mired in a swampy area and been left to die.
“It was horrific to see. The animals must have suffered enormously before they died,” an anonymous witness told Beeld.
When workers were questioned, they said they had tried in vain several times to speak to the farm's managers about the lack of cattle feed.
A large portion of the budget for the government farm, situated between Ermelo and Amsterdam, was allegedly used for the World Cup Soccer tournament in 2010, it was reported.
Bheki Nyathikazi, spokesman for the provincial department of agriculture, told the paper on Thursday night that he had not been aware of the problem.
“The department will investigate,” he said. - Sapa