Cat­tle haz­ard must be dealt with promptly

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO OPINION -

The dan­gers posed by stray cat­tle on the city’s roads were brought home with force with the re­port of a mo­tor­cy­clist who spent al­most two weeks in ICU af­ter rid­ing into a cow.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at night in Meerensee, and to make mat­ters worse, the dark colour of the an­i­mal gave the vic­tim no chance of see­ing the dan­ger ahead.

His in­juries were se­vere and aside from the pain and pos­si­ble fu­ture phys­i­cal and men­tal scars he will carry, the cost of treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion will run into tens of thou­sands of rands.

The in­ci­dent could quite eas­ily have been fa­tal.

The on­go­ing is­sue of cat­tle roam­ing in streets, sub­urbs and even the in­dus­trial area, won’t sim­ply go away.

Be­yond the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­ci­dents, there are health risks, and po­ten­tial dam­age to gar­dens and property.

Chil­dren liv­ing at these homes are po­ten­tially li­able to be gored by an an­gry or fright­ened beast, as are pets.

On a pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sion, home­own­ers have been known to take mat­ters into their own hands in try­ing to dis­perse the cat­tle – which does no good for neigh­bourly re­la­tions.

And let’s not for­get that the owner of the cat­tle also has much to lose, ei­ther through an ac­ci­dent or en­counter with a dog or even an irate home­owner or driver.

Ini­tially, the en­croach­ment of cat­tle on suburban roads and highways was linked to the drought, with own­ers mov­ing their beasts to any avail­able graz­ing place.

How­ever, good rains have since fallen in the re­gion and while the Goed­ertrouw Dam is still at a dan­ger­ously low level, other dams have filled and the wa­ter ta­ble has risen ap­pre­cia­bly.

The mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties – who may well share some li­a­bil­ity for ac­ci­dent claims - should now en­sure things go ‘back to nor­mal’ be­fore more ac­ci­dents oc­cur.

The same goes for the dan­gers posed by the many who beg at street corners, stand­ing or kneel­ing be­tween the traf­fic lanes and also of­ten dressed in dark cloth­ing.

Must we wait un­til one of them is killed be­fore we act?

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