Alarm over stray cat­tle

AgriEC vows to en­sure Nd­lambe obeys court or­der

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

TWO col­li­sions be­tween cars and cat­tle on the R67 have again high­lighted the dan­gers of stray cat­tle on Nd­lambe’s roads, and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity faces re­turn­ing to court to an­swer for its fail­ure to en­force the law.

One ac­ci­dent took place on the Gra­ham­stown side of Bathurst last Thurs­day night, and the other on the R67 near the Ne­mato sta­dium on Satur­day, where two an­i­mals were in­volved in the col­li­sion.

There were no in­juries to the ve­hi­cles’ oc­cu­pants, but cars were dam­aged and two cat­tle had to be eu­thanised by the SPCA due to their in­juries.

Pan­ther Farm Se­cu­rity’s Dud­ley Wa­ters re­ported the ac­ci­dents and the SPCA in Port Al­fred and Nd­lambe Dis­tricts con­firmed they had been called to the scene.

“The first was on June 15 just out­side Bathurst to­wards Gra­ham­stown. The cow had to be hu­manely slaugh­tered due to the sever­ity of its in­juries,” SPCA in­spec­tor Anel Slab­bert said.

“The sec­ond was on June 17 on the R67 close to the Ne­mato sta­dium. Ap­par­ently two cat­tle were hit but on ar­rival one an­i­mal was al­ready re­moved. The sec­ond an­i­mal also had to be hu­manely slaugh­tered due to its in­juries.”

Agri EC rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brent McNa­mara con­tacted clus­ter com­man­der Bri­gadier Mor­gan Goven­der about the ac­ci­dents.

“Ap­par­ently none of these an­i­mals were marked in ac­cor­dance with the An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Act, which is a SAPS re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­force.

“Could you please ad­vise as to the CAS/En­quiry case num­bers opened, and also as to the dis­posal of the car­casses in­volved. It would fur­ther be ap­pre­ci­ated if you could in­di­cate steps taken to iden­tify the own­ers,” he wrote.

He fur­ther asked the po­lice for a list of J534’s is­sued and/or cases opened with re­gard to non-com­pli­ance of the An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Act for the Alexan­dria, Ken­ton-on-Sea, Port Al­fred, Bathurst and Seafield sta­tions since Jan­uary 1.

An­swer­ing TotT’s queries, SAPS spokes­woman Cap­tain Mali Goven­der said: “Sev­eral fines have been is­sued to own­ers of cat­tle by the Port Al­fred SAPS.

“These cat­tle were herded from the streets to the po­lice sta­tion. Oth­ers sta­tions within the clus­ter have also is­sued fines for stray cat­tle. The SAPS within the clus­ter are fac­ing a huge chal­lenge in ad­dress­ing the is­sue of stray cat­tle. The SAPS will con­tinue to make en­deav­ours to ad­dress the is­sue,” she said.

De­spite a court or­der com­pelling the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ad­dress the stray cat­tle prob­lem by es­tab­lish­ing a re­port­ing sys­tem, im­pound­ing the strays and fin­ing the own­ers, McNa­mara said the prob­lem was get­ting worse, not bet­ter.

“I think it is in­evitable that we will go back to court, given the lack of mean­ing­ful ac­tion on the part of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” he said.

The com­pre­hen­sive court or­der ob­tained by Agri EC also com­pels the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ad­dress prob­lems on mu­nic­i­pal com­mon­ages like miss­ing and bro­ken bound­ary fences, lack of con­trol over how many an­i­mals are kept on the com­mon­ages, lack of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tags, an­i­mal dis­eases and per­va­sive alien in­va­sive veg­e­ta­tion.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has in­di­cated it will strug­gle to meet cer­tain dead­lines in the or­der with­out the as­sis­tance of the de­part­ment of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and land re­form. McNa­mara said time-line ex­ten­sions for rec­ti­fi­ca­tion ac­tions might be con­sid­ered for cer­tain parts of the or­der, but not for the bulk of the or­der, in­clud­ing the manda­tory tag­ging of an­i­mals and im­pound­ment of strays.

“These re­main­ing is­sues are mat­ters of le­gal com­pli­ance, and are well within the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ad­dress,” he said, adding that im­ple­men­ta­tion of a tar­iff for use of com­mon­ages – as re­quired in terms of the court or­der – would as­sist the

mu­nic­i­pal­ity in ad­dress­ing some of these is­sues.”

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Ce­cil Mbolekwa said 50 cat­tle had been im­pounded since the court or­der and 27 fines had been is­sued for allowing an­i­mals to stray.

“Fines have been paid,” he said. “Fines and fees are not waived by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Those mak­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions to court to have the fines re­duced may be suc­cess­ful, but that in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from the mag­is­trate’s court.”

Mbolekwa said 10 im­pounded cat­tle had been tagged since pro­cure­ment and re­ceipt of the tags, and once the own­ers paid the pound fees the cat­tle were re­leased.

“In terms of the An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Act, SAPS is­sues fines for un­branded cat­tle. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion can thus be re­quested from SAPS.

“Im­pound­ing of cat­tle and is­su­ing of fines will con­tinue. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has one truck used to im­pound, which can un­for­tu­nately only trans­port five cat­tle at a time. Our ef­forts in this re­gard thus con­tinue,” he said.

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