Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
THE Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe needs about $1,2 million to erect a fence along the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway to prevent accidents caused by stray animals, an official has said. According to TSCZ spokesperson Mr Tatenda Chinoda, the organisation has embarked on a major project to erect fences along the country’s major roads.
“We are seized with erecting fences along major roads in the country. We are targeting high-risk areas and Masvingo is one of them, especially in Mwenezi where they are more cattle. We need at least $480 000 to erect a fence along Harare-Masvingo road. It costs at least $600 000 for a single stretch, and there are two stretches,” he said.
Government has erected a fence along Gweru-Bulawayo Highway, Bulawayo-Plumtree Road and the Gweru to Kwekwe stretch of the road.
“I may not have statistics off hand, but stray animals have accounted for many accidents on our roads, most of them fatal,” Mr Chinoda said.
He said the TSCZ has embarked on raising road safety awareness in villages and farming communities on the importance of preventing livestock from straying onto national roads.
“We are conducting village road safety education meetings. We are targeting village heads, farmers and communities on the need to keep their animals in paddocks, kraals and pastures, away from highways. This is part of our immediate action plans to curb the stray animal scourge,” he said.
Masvingo City Town Clerk Mr Adolf Gusha has also raised concern over stray animals which are causing havoc in the city. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) reportedly impounds an average of 200 cattle per year. According to Masvingo’s by-laws all stray animals — including domestic animals, cattle, donkeys or goats — are impounded and handed over to SPCA.
“Of late, we are experiencing problems of stray animals causing havoc in the city, especially in residential suburbs. We advise the owners of these animals to prevent them from straying into the urban centre as they will be impounded,” Mr Gusha said.
He said once they are impounded, the animals will be handed over to the SPCA, who will make the owners pay to recover them.
“We work with the SPCA that keeps impounded animals and for the owners to reclaim them, they will have to pay a certain fine. Our council by-laws empower us to impound all stray domestic animals and hand them over to SPCA. The fines are determined by the SPCA,” he said.
SPCA provincial officer Mr John Chikomo confirmed that they have impounded quite a number of stray animals since late last year.
“Since October last year to date, we have impounded 270 cattle, four donkeys and 16 goats that strayed into the city. On average, we impound 200 animals. Owners of the animals will only claim them back on condition that they pay a custody fee of $5 per day,” he said.
Mr Chikomo said the problem of stray livestock is experienced more during the summer season when animals follow waterways and fresh pastures.