Saai is shocked and upset about the dire condition of the campus and farm of the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture (Pampoenboere) and has consulted a legal team about possible action to save the college from collapse.
Students complain that the maintenance of the buildings and grounds has fallen so far behind that it makes the environment unsafe. There is no trace of the once-proud institution that trained top farmers and agricultural technical advisers.
Photos and reports of animals being emaciated due to poor and malnutrition, appalling kraals, rubbish dumped in the grazing and animal welfare practices that will make the SPCA gasp for breath support the students’ complaints.
Saai is particularly concerned about the impact of neglected facilities on the quality of tertiary agricultural training. “It would have been disastrous if the campus had been empty, but students are still being trained here,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai. “We want to know how this happened, and someone must be held accountable.”
According to Dr Theo de Jager, Chair of the Board at Saai, Southern Africa expects its tertiary agricultural training institutions to keep young farmers at the forefront of international competitiveness. “Some people believe that the photos of dilapidated infrastructure and emaciated cattle are exaggerated because it is such a huge contrast to the excellent college that thousands of farmers and agricultural businessmen remember as their alma mater, but a photo cannot lie,” he says.
The livestock on campus is not in such poor condition due to a shortage of feed. There are stores full of great products, supplements and specialised blends; it is just not given to the animals, or the wrong feed is given.
Saai has already instructed a lawyer to find the responsible and accountable officials and approach the courts to obtain information, ensure redress and enforce liability where necessary.
*Photographs by Annelise Lange