The African National Congress has noted with concern the announcement made by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on the source of the outbreak of the food borne disease "Listeriosis" on Sunday, 04 March 2018. The Minister announced that following an investigation the source of the outbreak can be confirmed to be the Enterprise food-production facility in Polokwane and Germiston.
The ANC calls on the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to urgently initiate an investigation at various identified food production factories in order to ascertain and establish whether the packaging material used in those products is not substandard and that it conforms to the basic standards of hygiene. These food production factories should ensure that the standard of packaging is not of inferior quality; chasing lower production prices at the expense of innocent lives.
Whilst the disease is serious but treatable and preventable, the ANC is highly disturbed by the high number of fatalities as a result of the disease. To us, one death is too many. It is for this reason that we make a call to the people of South Africa to remain vigilant and visit health centres as and when they experience the symptoms for immediate treatment. We also urge members of the public to follow the advice given by the Department to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as "ready-to-eat" in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
The ANC welcomes the recall of products that are implicated such as; Polony, Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, Sausages, and other "cold meat" products that are not cooked before use.
We urge the Department of Health and the Department of Labour to undertake regular visits of all factories dealing with the production of food products to ascertain their conformity of the relevant legislation around health and employment.
In order to decisively deal with the disease and prevent the loss of lives, the ANC urges all South Africans to promote a healthy lifestyle and abide by the food-safety rules; washing hands before handling food, eating well cooked meals, isolate raw food from cooked food, ensure that food is at an appropriate temperature, washing non-cooked food with clean running water, and using boiled milk products.
The ANC sends its sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives due to the disease. We also extend our sympathies to friends and colleagues of the victims and further joins the call for the Department of Basic Education to apply extra measures to curb the outbreak at Schools.
In the coming days, the ANC will meet with the relevant stakeholders in this debacle and undertake visits to implicated factories including engagement with informal traders who mostly sell these ready-to-eat products to further raise levels of awareness around food safety.
Issued by the African National Congress