LARGE herds of livestock have reportedly invaded Hwange urban area including the CBD as they migrate from nearby villages in search of water and pasture.
Cattle, donkeys, goats and sheep have literally camped mainly between Hwange Colliery Company general purpose offices and the district development coordinator’s offices along the main street connecting the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Highway to the CBD.
Some animals are in Baboab low-density suburb as well as Mpumalanga and Chibondo high density which are under the jurisdiction of Hwange Local Board (HLB) while others are in the Hwange Colliery and National Railways of Zimbabwe concession areas, especially in Number 1 and Lwendulu.
They stray into the urban area in search of water and grazing as streams have dried up in villages while boreholes are overwhelmed by both people and animals.
The animals are destroying gardens and water taps while also posing a traffic hazard as they haphazardly cross streets.
Cattle and donkeys come from surrounding peri-urban communities such as Cholibondo, Madumabisa, Makwa and St Mary’s goats and sheep belong to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.
The animals are either driven or left to stray into the urban areas to graze on vast stretches of green grass and drink water from numerous sewer streams.
A resident from Ward 5 in Empumalanga, Ms Margaret Chitonje said residents were now taking turns to guard gardens at night.
“People are no longer sleeping peacefully because of the noise as cattle move around. We have resorted to taking turns to guard our vegetables as residents and we appeal to authorities take action and locate the owners of these cattle,” said Ms Chitonje.
Greater Hwange Residents Trust coordinator Mr Fidelis Chima said scores of residents have lost their gardens which have been destroyed by the animals.
He said some of the livestock strays into mining premises.
“There are many cattle and goats especially in Number 2, Number 5 and Empumalanga suburbs and residents are complaining about destruction of gardens and fruit trees. As you may know gardening is now a source of livelihood hence such destruction compromises the food situation for many families. Some of the animals are now even getting into mining premises which puts them at risk of them falling into mine pits.
“Our appeal is for the owners to take charge of their livestock and the local authority to strengthen by-laws and prevent this menace,” said Mr Chima>Chaosafrica