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Gvt considers compelling contracted road construction firms to erect fences along highways


Umguza (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe government is considering introducing legislation that makes it mandatory for companies contracted to rehabilitate major roads to erect fences on the sides, to prevent domestic and wild animals from straying onto the highways and causing accidents.

Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira said this while addressing small-scale farmers in Umguza district in Matabeleland North province.

He said cases of stray animals causing accidents were highly prevalent in the Matabeleland region, adding that fences would go a long in curbing these and reducing road carnage.

“We want to make a proposal that all road construction companies should be compelled to erect fences after rehabilitation of the roads. This will help to stop livestock from straying into the roads and cause unnecessary accidents,” he said.

Marapira said there was also need for new laws to punish those who leave their animals to stray onto highways and those that vandalise fences, contributing to accidents.

“We have discovered that highway fences were either vandalized or stolen. At one point along our way here, we had to stop to allow cattle to move. There is need for a law that says those who steal the fence will spend time in prison. This is what we want to take up as a Ministry and propose to Parliament,” he said.

He said another option was for the government to confiscate stray livestock and take them to state farms where they could be auctioned to raise more funds to fence off the country`s highways.

“There is Statutory Instrument 308 of 1974, which prohibits any person from allowing his or her animals from grazing near roads. It is only that the law is not being enforced,” he said.

Marapira applauded other initiatives by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) such as animal tagging, which enables visibility of livestock, especially at night, as well as the highway fencing project, which prevented livestock from roaming around the highways.

He however noted with concern, the vandalism of the fence by local communities.

“It is very disheartening that the fence is being vandalized and farmers continue to lose their cattle while property and life are lost.

It was the responsibility of local communities, especially traditional and political leaders, to safeguard the infrastructure that the government builds.

Addressing the same gathering, TSCZ managing director Munesu Munodawafa indicated that an average of five people die in road traffic accidents daily while 38 are injured.

He said the agency has reconstructed the fence which was vandalised by villagers along the Gweru to Plumtree highway and implored the community to safeguard it.

New Ziana

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