An Ankole bull belonging to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa sold for R640 000 at the Ntaba Nyoni auction on Wednesday, near Ermelo in Mpumalanga.
The auction, of Ankole and Ankole crossbreeds, was the first of its kind in South Africa.
Ramaphosa’s Lot 35, NANK10-115, with a right horn length of over 110cm, was the highest-priced bull at the auction.
It’s left horn length is more than 114cm; from tip to tip the horn length is over 129cm.
Ramaphosa owns the Ntaba Nyoni herd, one of very few in the country. At the auction, he said he first saw the Ankole during a visit to Uganda.
He said he had approached the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to import the breed, but was told it was not permitted, as Uganda’s veterinary services could not guarantee the animals were healthy.
Ramaphosa then approached Dr Morné de La Rey, a veterinary surgeon and embryo transfer specialist, who travelled to Uganda with him to bring embryos to South Africa.
Ankole is now registered as a breed and is administered by the Afrikaner Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa. Its meat is naturally low in cholesterol and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The two traits are governed solely by genes; they cannot be attained through development or feed.
The Ankole is also popular with game farmers, who buy the bulls for hunting and use the horns as trophies. Hunting bulls sold for between R15 000 and R50 000, depending on the size of their horns.