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’No need to panic’ says MEC after swarms of locusts spotted in residential areas

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“We urge members of the public to chase the locusts away when they are spotted in their yards and also switch off their outside lights at night.”

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The MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Mase Manopole on Saturday urged residents “not to panic” after swarms of brown locusts have been spotted in residential areas in the Province.

After the department was inundated with calls from the public she assured households that the brown locusts did not pose a danger.

“Due to recent heavy rainfalls, the Province experienced an outbreak of locusts in various parts of our districts, such as Pixley Ka Seme and the ZF Mgcawu district.

“Lately locusts were spotted in the Namakwa, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Frances Baard districts.”

Manopole said control measures were currently being implemented to curb the new spread of the locusts.

“The current strong winds are supporting the flight and spread of the locusts, especially in our dwellings.”

She added that while the locusts were not harmful, they could destroy vegetation.

“Unfortunately we are prohibited by law to control the spread in our dwellings because of the nature of chemicals we are using. We urge members of the public to chase the locusts away when they are spotted in their yards and also switch off their outside lights at night.”

She further called on farmers and farmer organisations to alert the department whenever they noticed any swarms to work with officials on the ground to curb the spread.

“Farmers and ordinary members of the public are advised to report sightings of these swarms in their areas to the following departmental officials: Mulalo Matodzi on 083 326 7773, Vuyokazi Mpumlwana on 084760 8176 and Dr Ikalafeng Kgakatsi on 072 198 9882.”