Alarm over stray cattle
AgriEC vows to ensure Ndlambe obeys court order
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.