Action on strays

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity launches pro­ce­dure ac­cord­ing to court or­der is­sued

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

FOL­LOW­ING months of com­plaints about stray cat­tle on pub­lic roads, in­clud­ing sev­eral ac­ci­dents, Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­leased its pro­ce­dures for re­port­ing and im­pound­ing stray cat­tle this week.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity had al­ready reached a 60-day dead­line im­posed by the Gra­ham­stown High Court af­ter the court ruled in favour of an ap­pli­ca­tion by Agri East­ern Cape, the Alexan­dria Agri­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion (AAA) and four farm­ers.

The farm­ers were frus­trated when noth­ing was be­ing done about bro­ken fences on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s Kru­is­fontein com­mon­age in Alexan­dria, re­sult­ing in stray cat­tle wan­der­ing onto their land and some­times min­gling with their own herds, with the risk of dis­ease trans­fer.

De­ter­min­ing own­er­ship of the strays has also been prob­lem­atic, as most of the cat­tle were not branded in ac­cor­dance with the An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Act, and even lacked tags – which the law says is in­suf­fi­cient.

Even af­ter a new an­i­mal pound was built in Alexan­dria a few years ago, it was largely in­ac­tive, and a truck fitted for the pur­pose of trans­port­ing stray cat­tle sat idle at the mu­nic­i­pal works yard.

The roam­ing cat­tle have also posed a haz­ard to mo­torists, not only in Alexan­dria, but also in Port Al­fred and Bathurst. Sev­eral ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing cat­tle have been re­ported in re­cent months, in­clud­ing a po­lice ve­hi­cle col­lid­ing with a cow on the R67.

SAPS was mo­ti­vated to do some­thing af­ter that in­ci­dent, but their hands were still tied as far as the im­pound­ing of the an­i­mals were con­cerned, as they de­pended on mu­nic­i­pal co­op­er­a­tion.

The most re­cent ac­ci­dent we know of, is one in which TotT was per­son­ally in­volved, when this re­porter col­lided with a black cow that stepped out of the dark­ness as it crossed Al­bany Road on Sun­day night.

We nar­rowly evaded a more se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent, as the beast just smashed the driver’s side mir­ror.

Af­ter turn­ing off into Strand Street, we fol­lowed a dozen or so cat­tle on foot and put a warn­ing on Face­book for other mo­torists.

Half of the cat­tle con­tin­ued down Al­bany Road and the oth­ers en­tered an open plot and grazed there for a while.

A call to the pound master elicited a re­sponse from the fire de­part­ment, which sent a ve­hi­cle down Al­bany Road in an at­tempt to herd the cat­tle.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing we also heard the po­lice had joined the ef­fort and im­pounded 23 cat­tle. Fines were is­sued to own­ers who came to claim their cat­tle while they were be­ing loaded on a truck at the po­lice sta­tion to take to the pound.

The rest were im­pounded.

In re­sponse to TotT’s queries mu­nic­i­pal spokesman, Ce­cil Mbolekwa, pro­vided the fol­low­ing eight-point pro­ce­dure for re­port­ing and im­pound­ing stray cat­tle:

All calls from the pub­lic re­gard­ing stray an­i­mals will be re­ported to the Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices 24 hours per day, by phon­ing (046) 624-1111.

The control room op­er­a­tor will record all com­plaints re­gard­ing stray an­i­mals on the Ru­ral Metro Dis­patch Sys­tem and or oc­cur­rence book (that can be made avail­able as and when needed).

The control room op­er­a­tor will con­tact the chief traf­fic of­fi­cer (CTO) /chief fire of­fi­cer (CFO) be­fore ac­ti­vat­ing the stray an­i­mal team (SAT).

CTO/CFO will then give the au­thor­ity to the control room op­er­a­tor to ac­ti­vate stray an­i­mal team leader (SATL).

The SATL will then ac­ti­vate the stray an­i­mal truck driver and his team to pro­ceed and load the said stray an­i­mals.

The pound master will open up the Alexan­dria pound and follow pro­ce­dures to im­pound the stray an­i­mals.

The by-law com­pli­ance of­fi­cer will is­sue the rel­e­vant fines to the own­ers of the stray an­i­mals on col­lec­tion of these an­i­mals.

No an­i­mals may be re­leased from the pound if not tagged.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity did not pro­vide the pound master’s phone num­ber, but it is the one we got a re­sponse from on Sun­day night. The num­ber is 083-662-1481.

Pic­ture: JON HOUZET

NO MORE ROAM­ING: The haz­ard posed by stray cat­tle on the road may be re­duced as the an­i­mals are im­pounded and fines are is­sued to own­ers

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