WINDHOEK, Sept. 27 – Various road safety partners including MVA Fund, National Road Safety Council (NRSC), SAIF, Private Road Safety Forum (PRSF) and Ministry of Works and Transport held discussions pertaining to road safety impediments along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, A1 and A2 routes.
A prominent aspect that came to the fore, was the presence of stray and domestic animals on road reserves, prompting the MVA Fund to engage the Witvlei community in July earlier this year, on ways to control stray animals to reduce their involvement in road crashes.
Following suit, the Maltahőhe Farmer’s Association in Hardap together with the Omutsegwonime community in Oshikoto region were engaged by the Fund recently. The communities expressed various challenges with regard to controlling their livestock.
These include a lack of impounding kraals in the corridors to contain animals, lack of financial resources to rehabilitate border fences that collapse due to wear and tear, and lack of knowledge on how to administer Section 348 of the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001.
The Regulation states that “a person may not leave or allow any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig or ostrich to be on any section of a public road where that section is fenced or in any other manner closed along both sides”.
“In lieu of the above, animal related collisions can oftentimes be fatal, especially if the collision occurred between a motor vehicle and large livestock such as cattle causing vehicle occupants to be severely injured or losing their lives,” Sidney Boois, Acting Chief of Corporate Affairs at MVA fund said.
This scenario has, according to the MVA Fund Call Centre, resulted in the loss of 13 lives and 265 people sustaining varying degrees of injury in 140 crashes involving animals in 2016. Otjozondjupa region recorded the highest number of animal-related crashes (42), followed by Oshikoto (17) and Hardap (13) in the same year.
“The MVA Fund urges farmers to keep domestic animals off public roads, take control of their farming activities by instituting an absolute search when livestock go missing and herd their livestock during the day and keep them in the kraal at night. Commercial farmers are advised to carry out periodical inspections of fencing to ensure that animals do not stray from the grazing fields,” Boois said.
The Fund further calls upon all drivers to exercise extra vigilance especially during the dry season when animals are more likely to be close to the roads looking for greener pastures and when driving in areas with high volumes of wildlife.
“Motorists should further be attentive to road warning signs and adjust accordingly. Additionally, speed reduction especially at night and when driving in an unfamiliar environment will critically help reduce motor vehicle crashes especially with stray animals,” Boois concluded. – Ronald Geingob