Accidents waiting to happen on R330!

There has been much talk around the village again on the presence of cows, goats and pigs wandering across the R330 between Tarragona turnoff and the end of the informal settlement travelling towards Cape St Francis. Certainly these animals pose a danger to vehicles and more than one accident can be attributed to a cow or pig wandering onto the road. A local publican had a lucky escape recently not only from suffering serious injury in an accident that resulted major damage to his vehicle trying to avoid hitting a cow but then had to fend off a marauding mob intent on robbing him. But this article is not about that incident but rather about the reality of the dangers of this short stretch of road.

Keeping farm animals without approval is in contravention of the Kouga Environmental Health By-Laws (read PART TWO – KEEPING OF ANIMALS AND POULTRY) and it is almost certain none of those keeping these farm animals have this approval.  This is in contravention of the by-laws but can these by-laws be enforced? It seems unlikely!

It is doubtful the Kouga Municipality is going to do anything about this problematic situation any time soon and certainly not before the August Municipal Elections. But don’t hold your breath that the status quo will suddenly be reversed when the DA take over the council after the elections for the reality is nothing will change for months if not years to come. Many say the animals should be impounded but consider the reaction of confiscating the animals. We could see a riot not dissimilar to what we have witnessed in Tshwane over the past weeks for it is doubtful these herders will take having their animals impounded lying down.

But there is a far more serious threat that cannot be ignored. A lot of pedestrians, kids and adults walk this road and certainly some of the older folk are sometimes a little worse for wear after a jug or two of refined grape juice. Hitting an animal will cause damage to your car and hopefully leave you uninjured.  Kill a pedestrian and the consequences could be a lot more dire with a jail sentence for murder or culpable homicide not be improbable.

So what is the answer?

Possibly we have to accept that we reside in a semi-rural environment and though we may in many ways enjoy a first world lifestyle, we have to accept we live in a third world environment.  These animals are a reality of rural South Africa and won’t disappear just because it is illegal and we have to accept we can’t change things. In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologianGod grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. 

First off the speed limit over this stretch needs to be reduced for everyone’s safety and the council should be asked to approach Provincial Roads to extend the 60KPH speed zone and move the 60K sign 500 metres south from its present position. Ideally speed humps should be installed but apparently these cannot be placed on National /  Provincial roads so relly it is up to drivers to take care and reduce their speed. Extending the 60PPH limit possibly won’t stop speeding for we all know that South African drivers are renowned for generally ignoring speed limits with few exceptions. But maybe, just for once, we should all be cognisant of the dangers and more importantly, the consequences and drive a little slower through the “farm zone”.

Another section of road waiting for a serious accident is on Tarragona Road. It seems the 50KPH doesn’t apply to some of the big trucks that ply this route and there is a particularly noisy Audi that treats Tarragona as his very own Hot Rod strip.

But on a serious note it is just sensible to reduce speed over this section of road. Sure the journey will add a minute to travel time but that is a lot less time than a day or two defending a culpable homicide charge or getting quotes to have a damaged front end repaired. Such is human nature that if we get caught speeding we chastise the traffic department of being sneaky to earn money but if we hear of someone being knocked over because of excessive speeding we chastise them for not doing enough to stop speeding.

In closing, a short note to the lady who, ferrying a group of kids from St Francis College, decided to do a three-point turn on the R330 near the Kromme bridge in the face of oncoming traffic including a big truck. Please be more careful in future you put the lives of those kids, your own and the drivers of the other vehicles at risk. It seems you were closer to a major accident than you realise so next time think about the consequences and rather travel to the next intersection rather than attempt to make a U-turn in the middle of a busy road.