By Mathias Haufiku
RUNDU – Herds of drought-affected livestock, including donkeys, from nearby villages have taken to grazing in and around the town of Rundu, posing a risk to motorists.
The Rundu Town Council that has acknowledged the problem is considering drastic action, saying the livestock invasion “poses a health threat to humans and at the same time has the potential to deter tourists from visiting the town.”
Rundu CEO Romanus Haironga says the council is hard at work mapping the way forward to bring an end to urban grazing at the fast-growing town.
“This situation cannot be allowed to go on because these animals may carry diseases that can be transmitted to human beings,” he told New Era.
Livestock such as goats, donkeys and cattle can be spotted daily within the town’s boundaries in search of grazing and the situation is said to be caused mainly by the ongoing drought.
Haironga says the animals may also contribute to road accidents as they constantly make use of the roads and in the process obstruct traffic.
“Government wrote to the local authorities recently instructing them to include the construction of animal kraals in their budget … we will do this so that we can start impounding animals that are found roaming in town,” said Haironga.
The council will make provision for an animal kraal soon, and this Haironga says, will enable the council to impound animals which will then be auctioned or the owners will be given a fine.
“We are humbly appealing to the public to keep their animals out of town. The animals must be kept on the farms or other grazing areas,” he said.
Once the town council puts up a kraal, it will appeal to livestock owners to keep their animals out of town because “we will just take action,” the CEO warned.
Meanwhile, the acting chairperson of the Kavango Regional Farmers Union, Oiva Mahina, yesterday also called on livestock owners to keep their animals out of town to prevent animals from eating non-biodegradable material which might affect the well-being of their animals.
“Nkurenkuru has only been recently proclaimed as a town but they already have a kraal … it is high time the town council constructs a kraal so that the animals that roam in town can be impounded,” said Mahina.
He doubts that the owners of livestock roaming around in town are fully-fledged farmers who wish to make a living from their animals.
“If these were real farmers, they will not allow their animals to eat plastic bags in town. As for those who say the drought has contributed to the result, I beg to differ, because as a farmer there is no way you will allow your livestock to be eating plastic bags and other waste lying around town,” he said.
He called on livestock owners to look after their animals and ensure animals graze in areas where they are not exposed to municipal waste.