Carcass condemnation is a problem in the South African beef industry, but the causes and risk factors have not been studied or quantified. Better understanding of the cumulative incidence and causative predictors of carcass condemnations could assist in improving cattle management during transportation, pre-slaughter and lairage in high-throughput abattoirs. This study was conducted to investigate the main causes and predisposing factors of carcass condemnation at a large high-throughput cattle abattoir during post-mortem inspections from January to December 2010. The experimental design included the effects of season, breed type, and sex, and their interactions on the cumulative incidence of carcass condemnations, and the causes of partial and whole carcass condemnations and the impact on carcass yield. The model was based on the presence of defects. Thirteen diseases and defects were evaluated in various breeds, sexes and seasons. The cumulative incidence of partial and complete carcass condemnations was 9.5%.The most important causes were peritonitis and pleuritis, soiling and bruising, Almost half of these carcass condemnations were due to soiling and bruising, which can be addressed by implementing better abattoir management during transportation, pre-slaughter and lairage. The cumulative incidence of parafilaria occurred mostly in spring and summer. Measles, intramuscular haemorrhage and wet carcass syndrome occurred mostly in winter. The cumulative incidence of the other defects had a negligible effect. Numerically the greatest carcass weight losses subsequent to partial condemnations were because of intramuscular haemorrhage and bruising.