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A donkey cart operates on the old Seshego road outside Polokwane.

Donkey cart owners warned

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Polokwane Municipality has warned donkey cart owners operating in the city and surrounding suburbs that they will face the full might of the law if they do not comply with the rules and regulations of the road.
This, after motorists raised concerns over the number of donkey carts on the roads. According to motorists, the tendency which has become a nightmare for road users is rife in the outskirts of Polokwane and some villages.
Most of the community members use donkey carts to transport goods from retail outlets and households.
Some are using the proverbial mode of transport to move a variety of items such as furniture, household products and building materials.
Spokesperson for the Polokwane Municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo said complaints and reports will be escalated to the traffic department for regular patrols in affected areas.
“Donkey carts and stray animals are dangerous on our roads and they can cause fatal accidents. They are disruptive and they disturb the traffic flow.”
He stressed that donkey carts are only allowed to operate in villages and not in urban areas.
“In terms of the regulations, the cart must be registered and licenced and meet safety standards including having reflectors. The operator must be older than 16 years and be able to take charge of the animals. The operators must at all times have identification with them and if the cart is found in urban areas, traffic officers can confiscate it.”
He also urged stray animals owners in the villages to take full responsibility for their livestock and not allow them to graze next to the main roads without supervision.
Mothapo said irresponsible owners will be held accountable. “Stray animals can cause accidents and in terms of the regulations, owners will be liable to a fine and or imprisonment.”
SPCA Inspector, Matome Semenya said they don’t have the power to stop donkey cart operators from driving on the roads. “We don’t enforce the law, the municipality does that. We only look after the welfare of the animals and we only intervene when they are not taken care of.”
The Manager of the SPCA, Selma Salman urged community members to report stray animals to them.
“We receive calls everyday regarding livestock roaming the main roads. The number of stray animals on the road increases during the winter months, because animals move around looking for food.
“We ask residents to understand that animals need food, water and shelter, and they do not understand busy roads or know that they may get run over. It is in their nature to look for food when they are hungry.”
A motorist, Joseph Lempo, from Legae la Batho in Seshego said the donkey carts are a disruption on the roads. “This is a booming business and we feel for donkey cart operators because they earn a living. They cannot share a road with motorists because it is dangerous. They can cause accidents and it will be difficult for them to account.”
Raesetja Lebelo from Magatle village in the Zebediela area said the restrictions will affect the operators.
“This is a traditional mode of transport which has been there for years. Most of the people in villages have donkey carts at their homes and they help to generate extra income. I think the municipality should create awareness programmes for those that are not abreast with the regulations because some really need to use tarred roads to move from one point to another,” Lebelo said.

Story: Herbert Rachuene
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