Minister of Transport and Communications, , Dorcus Makgato says it is the responsibility of farmers to keep their cattle off the roads She also said the country’s roads are not safe to use to due to the number of livestock found on such facilities during the day and at night.
Makgato was responding to a question from Boteti East Member of Parliament , Setlhomo Lelatisitswe. Member had asked the Minister to the tell House who pays the annual road levy between the farmers and the vehicle road users< He had also asked her if a vehicle owner hits a cow on the road who pays for the damages incurred on the vehicle and why.
Makgato said the road users or vehicle owners pay for the annual road levy. “ If a vehicle hits an animal on the road, the vehicle’s owner may pay for the repair of the vehicle on his own account or through their insurance and then claim the damages from the owner of the animal. The owner of the animal may pay for the damages if he is readily available and willing to pay,” Makgato said.
However, she stated that the owner of the animal pays a fine for having let the beast roam on the road reserve. This is in accordance with Section 100 (2) (b) of the Road Traffic Act. “The Road Traffic Act Section 105 indemnifies government for damages to property within the road reserve, therefore government cannot be sued for damages when vehicles involved in accidents.” She added that it is the responsibility of the farmers to keep the road clear of livestock especially cattle and horses.
“According to Road Traffic Act Section 100 (2) (b) no owner or person in charge of any cattle or other animals shall permit such cattle or other animals to be on a main road unless they are attended by a person in such a manner as to have proper control over them.” Makgato stated that the current strategy for safety on the roads is to fence them adding that it is obvious that this strategy requires all stakeholders to play their part.
Lelatisitswe had also wanted to know whether vehicle owners could claim damages to their vehicle from government and if not why. He also wanted to know who is responsible for keeping the road clear of livestock especially cattle and horses and when Batswana or road users in Botswana will enjoy animal free roads like in other countries and the strategy towards reaching this goal.