Calls for ac­tion on stray live­stock grow louder

Grocott's Mail - - OUTSIDE - By SUE MA­CLEN­NAN

Makana says state owned farms and com­mon­age form part of its strat­egy to deal with stray live­stock.

This fol­lows a truck driver’s nar­row es­cape when his 14-wheeler hit cows on the N2 out­side Gra­ham­stown re­cently.

Gro­cott’s Mail asked San­ral what the ex­tent of their re­spon­si­bil­ity was when it came to main­tain­ing and se­cur­ing roads un­der its stew­ard­ship, and whose re­spon­si­bil­ity it was to keep cat­tle and other live­stock off na­tional roads.

The Agency said they had noted and, where pos­si­ble, acted on the con­cerns over wan­der­ing live­stock on the N2.

“The up­keep and main­te­nance of the fences is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of San­ral, road rangers pro­vided by the East­ern Cape Depart­ment of Trans­port and the land own­ers of the prop­er­ties ad­ja­cent to the N2,” said Vusi Man­ager, Gen­eral Man­ager Com­mu­ni­ca­tions: San­ral

“There ap­pears to be lit­tle to no re­spon­si­bil­ity taken by the farm­ers who own the live­stock.”

“De­spite con­tin­u­ous ef­forts by San­ral’s main­te­nance con- trac­tor to ad­dress the is­sue of wan­der­ing live­stock by adopt­ing a va­ri­ety of fenc­ing op­tions in the af­fected ar­eas, theft and dam­ag­ing of fenc­ing has been a per­sis­tent is­sue.

“The ab­sence of herds­men to look af­ter the cat­tle and preva­lence of greener grass on the road re­serve as com­pared with the over­grazed farm­land ad­ja­cent to the road re­serve are ad­di­tional fac­tors that con­trib­ute to the cat­tle roam­ing freely.”

Man­ager said San­ral would like to en­cour­age the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in which it worked to pro­tect fences erected to keep an­i­mals off the road and fur­ther pre­vent ac­ci­dents such as the ones re­ported from hap­pen­ing again.

“It should also be strongly noted that as own­ers of the cat­tle which caused the ac­ci­dents that they are li­able for prose­cu­tion,” he said.

Man­ager urged mo­torists to ex­er­cise cau­tion when driv­ing on those sec­tions of the free­way and to ad­here to the speed limit.

By­laws

Civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions the Gra­ham­stown Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion and Gra­ham­stown Busi­ness Fo­rum both put the prob­lem at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s doorstep.

“Whether it’s piles of rub­bish, over­flow­ing sew­ers, or un­branded live­stock, Makana is risk­ing the health and lives of res­i­dents by not do­ing what they are legally obliged to do,” the GRA said in a state­ment af­ter the N2 in­ci­dent.

“Makana does face chal­lenges be­cause of anti-so­cial res­i­dents dump­ing, van­dal­is­ing and ig­nor­ing rules, but that does not ex­cuse of­fi­cials who have walked away from man­ag­ing prob­lems and make no at­tempt to ap­ply their by­laws.

“Things need to change, and Gra­ham­stown needs good lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tions to do so.”

The GBF said un­til Makana en­forced its by­laws, stray live­stock would con­tinue to cause ir­repara­ble dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment and cause road traf­fic ac­ci­dents.

“I un­der­stand that an­i­mals may stray on to the road even with the best of fences,” said chair­per­son Richard Gaybba. “How­ever, the rea­son in Makana is di­rectly be­cause of the lack of po­lit­i­cal will to en­force the by­laws and re­solve the is­sue.

“How many peo­ple need to be maimed and killed be­fore ac­tion is taken? It’s about time that those who are re­spon­si­ble are held ac­count­able for their ac­tions or lack thereof.”

Com­mon­age

Makana Parks and Re­cre­ation Man­ager Jeff Bu­daza says state owned farms and com­mon­age form part of Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s strat­egy to deal with stray live­stock.

An au­dit of seven sta­te­owned farms in the area is un­der way – an ex­er­cise be­ing un­der­taken jointly by the LED Depart­ment’s Agri­cul­ture Man­ager Piwe Gqweta and Bu­daza.

There are three cat­e­gories of emerg­ing farm­ers, Bu­daza ex­plained: • Land claimants • Ten­ants on mu­nic­i­pal farms • Peo­ple who live in the town­ship but own cat­tle

“The dif­fi­culty has been­try­ing to iden­tify a le­git­i­mate stock own­ers or farm­ers as­so­ci­a­tion,” Bu­daza said.

A per­son had iden­ti­fied her­self as sec­re­tary of the Makana Emerg­ing Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion – but none of the emerg­ing farm­ers knew of it or iden­ti­fied them­selves as mem­bers, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to form a Com­mon­age Com­mit­tee.

“There are seven state owned farms and the peo­ple liv­ing on them oc­cupy cru­cial po­si­tions – but there are seven sep­a­rate struc­tures for the seven farms – with no co­or­di­nat­ing body,” Bu­daza said. “This makes it a real chal­lenge to or­gan­ise them.”

Town­ship cat­tle own­ers were eas­ier to iden­tify and man­age.

“We have iden­ti­fied five or six fam­i­lies who own the cat­tle in town,” Bu­daza said. Called to a meet­ing at BB Zon­dani Hall last week, they said more rangers were needed to keep live­stock in the town un­der con­trol.

Asked to re­spond to the re­cent N2 in­ci­dent, Bu­daza said he’d been to in­spect the site.

“You can’t say those cat­tle come from town,” Bu­daza said. “In my opin­ion those cat­tle are not from Xolani – cat­tle from there don’t wander that far. They are more likely to be­long to one of the farm­ers in the area, or one of the farm­work­ers.”

Photo: Sue Ma­clen­nan

Tow-truck staff who ar­rived around 4am Wed­nes­day said it was clear to them the driver was not at fault and said they were amazed he had sur­vived.

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