Stray animals a headache for Gobabis Municipality

19 Jan 2019 15:20pm
GOBABIS, 19 JAN (NAMPA) – A relatively high population of stray animals in Gobabis has become a thorn in the flesh of the local municipality, as it battles to control the animals.
Many people here, especially those in informal settlements, keep a few animals such as goats, donkeys and pigs.
The animals are however not always kept in enclosures, leading to them freely wandering the town’s streets.
Gobabis Chief Executive Officer, Ignatius Thudinyane in an interview with Nampa on Friday said the municipality has its hands full trying to control the animals.
Thudinyane said although municipal bylaws are clear on the keeping of domestic animals within the town boundaries, many people continue to do so in violation of set regulations.
He said the influx of former farm workers to the town after being relieved from employment has compounded this problem as most of them come with a few of their livestock to the town.
A recent head count of the animals kept illegally within the town boundaries has put the number at 700 animals, which include donkeys, horses, goats and to a lesser extent, pigs.
The CEO said his office has engaged the livestock owners on several occasions with a view to have the animals removed from town boundaries or limited to absolute minimums, but such process has fallen flat.
“It is a difficult situation to deal with. The people do not want to move their animals out of town as they claim they have nowhere to take them,” he said.
Donkeys and horses are mainly used by the residents as a form of transport in the informal areas, especially to ferry water to their houses, while goats and pigs are kept for economic reasons as they are often resold.
Thudinyane said although animals roaming the streets without supervision are impounded, the municipality does not have enough holding facilities to keep all the animals.
“We keep the animals for a limited period and fine the owners when they come to claim them. If they don’t, such animals are sold on auction to the highest bidder,” he explained.
The CEO said it has emerged that the owners of the livestock also damage the municipality’s water pipes to allow their animals to drink from pools of water that often form around the damaged pipes.
“We have engaged them countless times to this effect, but they do not seem to change their attitude. Repairing this infrastructure is costly for the municipality,” Thudinyane said.
He said consultations with the livestock owners and all authorities involved will continue until a lasting solution is found.