Following the controversy around an unreported robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm and the recent Ankole cattle auction that fetched about R21m, Business Report delved deeper into the business of Ankole cattle in South Africa.
The President of the Ankole Society of South Africa, Jacques Malan, hailed Ramaphosa for bringing the first Ankole genetics into South Africa in 2004.
Malan told Business Report that the breed brought many opportunities to the country and could be the future of lobola negotiations in the country.
Malan said, “As a little boy, I remember visiting Uganda with my father and seeing this beautiful breed of cattle for the very first time. At the time, enquiries were made about bringing the cattle to South Africa, but the costs were too great. What the president did for this country in bringing the cattle here was phenomenal and presents many opportunities for the country.”
Amid social media rife with speculation about the price of the cattle in South Africa and the possibility of the sale of these animals being used as a tool for money laundering, Malan shed some light on the price differences between the two countries.
Malan said that buying cattle in South Africa is very similar to buying a car, however, the cattle in South Africa, are far superior to the ones being sold for about R10 000 in Uganda.
He said that the cattle in Uganda do not undergo strict quarantine processes, like the ones in South Africa.
“The process of bringing these cattle to South Africa is a very strict, regulated and costly one. The costs can go up into the millions. Before you even bring cattle to the country, you have to have a herd of cattle in South Africa. Send them to Uganda, where they undergo a quarantine process. The embryo is then fertilised in Uganda, the cattle are then sent to Kenya to undergo further quarantine, and many regulations and processes have to be followed before bringing the cattle back to South Africa.”
Malan said the high-priced Ankole cattle sold in South Africa for close to a million rand, are the cream of the crop when it comes to genetics.
He further told Business Report that prices could start from about R200 000 and drive up further, close to a million.
He added that the aim of the process was to keep cattle in South Africa free from diseases.
Speaking on the exclusivity of the cattle in South Africa, Malan said, “There are under 800 Ankole cattle in South Africa, which makes them very rare. Every cow and bull has their genetic code recorded, which makes the legitimacy of the business in the country secure and sound. If an animal is stolen and used for breeding purposes, you will be found out, as every auction has the DNA of the Ankole tested, allowing the lineage to be traced. If a theft does occur, the person will be liable to a hefty fine.”
Cash payments are not preferred at auctions
Malan said that the Ankole Society of SA prefers not to use cash payments at auctions.
Malan said, “We prefer cash not to be used as a form of payment as it poses a major safety risk. However, we do not control the auctions and sometimes, like when buying a car in the country, some cash payments are made for cattle.”
He added that electronic payments are always preferred when purchasing cattle or game in the country.
His comments come at a time when Ramaphosa is facing allegations of concealing a burglary that took place at the farm two years ago, in which millions in foreign currency were stolen.
Former spy boss, Arthur Fraser revealed the information when he opened up a case against the president
There are questions marks around why there was so much of cash at the farm, and whether the president who has denied any wrongdoing but said the proceeds from the sale of game had been stolen, had declared the money to SARS.
Politics aside, Malan has elaborated on how the Ankole cattle breed had adapted well to South African conditions.
“In Uganda, the cattle is seen as a major tourist attraction. The same can be said for South Africa as well, as it attracts tourists. The cattle can also be hunted, the beautiful white horns of the animals can be made into beer cups, and the hydes of the animals are up there in terms of quality as well. They are a great addition to game farms in the country. The cattle have also adapted very well to South Africa’s climate.”
Malan added that these cattle could become the future of lobola negotiations in the country.
Malan said, “With the quality and pricing of the cattle in South Africa, and the integrity of the breed being maintained, the cattle can be used for lobola negotiations in the country as well. Owning an Ankole brings you high status.”
Ramaphosa questioned over businesses
While Malan praised President Ramaphosa for bringing the breed to South Africa, former ANC spokesperson and the party’s NEC member Carl Niehaus has accused Ramaphosa of showing the country the “middle finger” by hosting a cattle auction at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo on Saturday. Scores of breeders gathered to buy livestock, among them the Ankole cows.
“The president was literally showing us as a nation the middle finger, telling us to get lost,” Niehaus told Pretoria News on Monday.
Nienhaus also said Ramaphosa was misusing state organs and resources, saying his private properties should not be guarded by state police. “He is misusing people in his president’s protection team. Police officers carried out his personal search for those who stole money from him and he continues to use state resources. There was a nyala (police armoured vehicle) at his gate at the farm protecting the private property of the president.
However, legal expert and lawyer Mafa Letsela of Letsela and Nkondo attorneys, said the president was allowed to have businesses in terms of the Constitution, as long as he declared them.
He said: “There is nothing that holds the president from owning businesses as long as he declares that and it should not be in conflict. For example, he should not conduct business with the government.”
Letsela also said that having police guarding the president’s private property was part of his benefits.
This weekend's auction of Ankole cattle at Ramaphosa's farm fetched close to R21 million.
Bonsmara bull sells for R2.1m
Meanwhile, earlier this month, an African Bonsmara bull sold for R2.1 million at an auction in the cattle-farming town of Stella in the North West.
The Bonsmara bull is native to Africa and is bred and strictly selected for economical production.
It has a darkish red pigment and is known for having high-quality beef.