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 domestic  animals  on  road reserves, prompting the MVA Fund to engage the Witvlei community in July this year on ways to control stray animals to reduce their involvement in road crashes. Following suit, the MaltahÅ‘he Farmer’s Association in Hardap and  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  keep  stray  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”.

The Regulations further state that a person may not leave the animal in a place from where it may stray onto that section
of a public road unless such animal is being ridden, used to draw a vehicle along  a  public  road  and is being  driven from  one  place  to  another  in  such  a  manner  as  not  to constitute a source of danger or injury to any person or vehicle using the road. In instances where animals referred above are driven along a public road during the period of sunset to sunrise, the owner or herder needs to a carry a red light for visibility. During any other period of the day, the person driving animals must display a red cloth in a conspicuous manner.

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. 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.

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.