The government through the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe has completed the erection of a perimeter fence for the 100 kilometer stretch of the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway in a move that will significantly reduce stray animal-related accidents.

A 2016 Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) report on fatal accidents recorded countrywide revealed that of the 1 291 fatal crashes recorded, 596 cases which is 44 percent of the total was recorded on the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway making it by far the deadliest stretch in the country despite the fact that it had been resurfaced.

The erection of the perimeter fence at a cost of $700 000 is a huge step towards minimising the animal related crashes and fatalities and the community is happy.

“Our domestic animals are a symbol of wealth from this side of the country. Every time my subjects would lose their possessions through accidents and we thank government for this initiative which is a relief to my subjects,” said Chief Kandana.

Officiating at the handover ceremony of the perimeter fence to the community in Figtree today, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Joram Gumbo said there is need to safeguard the fence while urging stakeholders to chip in and ensure sustainability of the infrastructure.

“In the same vein, there is need for a sustainable maintenance programme for the perimeter fence. The rural food for work programmes can be used in this regard. I would like to implore the prisons and correctional services authorities to consider availing labour dedicated for maintenance of the perimeter fence,” he said.

TSCZ board chairman Mr Albert Mugabe noted a survey they have carried out reveals that most of the accidents along the country’s major highways are caused by stray animals and as such his firm will continue to implement road safety mechanisms.

“Before we erected the Gweru-Bulawayo perimeter fence, the stretch used to record at least one animal related collision a day. Now this is in the past as of late we sometimes record zero such incidences. It is now the duty of villagers to safeguard this fence from vandalism,” Mr Mugabe said.

Stray animals like donkeys continue to be a menace on the country’s major highways.

Going forward, the government has set its sight on erecting a perimeter fence on the 300km stretch of Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway as it seeks to preserve human and animal lives.