A Uitenhage community is up in arms after 11 roaming cattle were shot – eight of them killed – and found on a Kruisrivier farmer’s property.
The other three cows were wounded, with one having to be euthanised by the SPCA yesterday.
The KwaNobuhle community was devastated after they were alerted to the news that the cattle, belonging to a group of small-scale livestock farmers, had been piled in a heap on a farm nearby.
It was unclear when the cows were shot.
Attempts to speak to the farm owner – whom the community accuses of being responsible for killing and wounding the animals – were unsuccessful as he was said to be in town all afternoon.
The incident has again highlighted the plight of small- scale farmers who have been pleading with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to provide commonage land for their livestock to graze.
There is, however, a massive shortage of commonage land. The metro previously said it was looking at ways to identify and purchase land for the animals.
One of the owners of the dead cows, Athenkosi Booi, said they were tipped off by a farm worker that their cattle had been shot.
Booi’s brother, Mzimkhulu, said: “We saw the blood by the farm entrance which we believe is the spot where they were shot.”
He said they had closed up the cattle overnight but the animals must have escaped. “We have a problem of drought. We believe they came here in search of water.”
Community member Sivuyile Stokwe said: “What the farmer [allegedly] did was uncalled for.
“He could have held the cattle and demanded a reasonable fine for the damages caused on his property.”
Sergeant Majola Nkohli said cases of malicious damage to property and contravention of the Animal Protection Act had been opened.
The municipality’s political head of human settlements, councillor Nqaba Bhanga, who visited the area yesterday, said: “Given the suffocating drought conditions, urban livestock are often forced to escape their enclosures in desperate search of food.”
Bhanga said that for many residents their livestock was their only form of livelihood and wealth.
“The mere sight of cattle can never warrant the lethal use of a deadly firearm, stripping these livestock owners of their livelihood.”
Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane slated the senseless killing.
He urged the SPCA and police to act swiftly in dealing with the matter.
By Johnnie Isaac with additional reporting by Rochelle de Kock