Action on strays
Municipality launches procedure according to court order issued
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.
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