Lack of funds to fix fences for livestock on farms contributing to road accidents
During an engagement held by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, farmers stressed that the lack of financial resources to fix border fences that collapse due to wear and tear makes it hard to control animal movement.
This in turn leads to animals wandering off on national roads and causing accidents. The fund said that animal related collisions can often at times 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.
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 farmers also raised concern of not having 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’.
Speaking to the Maltahőhe Farmer’s Association in Hardap and the Omutsegwonime community in Oshikoto region the MVA Fund urged the 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.
“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,” Sidney Boois, Acting Chief of Corporate Affairs at the fund said.
Meanwhile, 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.