E Cape govt feeds Mandela's dying cattle - report

Johannesburg - The Eastern Cape government fed starving cattle at former president Nelson Mandela's homestead in Qunu, the Sunday Times reported.

The department of rural development employed veterinarians and provided food to save a herd of 96 cattle that were in danger of dying of starvation.

The department vaccinated, dehorned and castrated some of the cattle, to keep the herd at manageable numbers.

Farm manager Siyakudumisa Gabada was quoted as saying the situation on the farm was extremely difficult and worrying as there was not enough grass for them to graze.

"The cattle have become thin and are in a terrible state," Gabada told the paper.

Chief Mandla Mandela reportedly acknowledged the farm's situation and said his family was looking into possible solutions.

"Around this time of year as a community we lose a lot of cattle and sheep due to drought... There are also challenges like the management of over-grazing on the farm," Mandela was quoted as saying.

Rural development MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane told the paper he was concerned that the department had to return to the farm.

According to the weekly, late former president Nelson Mandela stated in his will that the farming operations in Qunu should continue.

Mandela died on 5 December 2013 in Houghton, Johannesburg.