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Don’t call us “Bafana BetiNkhomo”, says Road Safety Cattle Rangers.

Thursday, 16th May, 2024

MALINDZA:Cattle Rangers in Eswatini are speaking out against the derogatory label "Bafana betinkhomo” and demanding respect for their crucial role in ensuring road safety.

In a recent meeting at Lawini Lodge in Malindza, representatives from the Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (SMVAF) Executive Committee, led by CEO David Mfanimpela Myeni, convened with Rangers from across the country to address pressing concerns regarding road safety, particularly concerning the role of Cattle Rangers in mitigating accidents involving livestock. 

The cattle ranging exercise is supported by the SMVAF, having been launched in 2015.

Cattle Rangers, tasked with removing livestock from roads to minimize accident risks, voiced the challenges they face in fulfilling their duties. Madida Nxumalo highlighted the impact of the derogatory term "Bafana betinkhomo," stating, “such terms not only undermine our tireless efforts but perpetuate disrespect towards those dedicated to ensuring road safety." Despite their vital task, Rangers find themselves belittled and demeaned.

Furthermore, Rangers expressed frustration at the lack of cooperation from farmers in adhering to directives aimed at keeping livestock away from the roadside. Despite repeated appeals for compliance, many farmers continue to neglect safety protocols, putting road users at risk.

The seriousness of the situation was highlighted by a distressing incident where a female Ranger was physically assaulted by a pedestrian who misunderstood her role. This incident underscores the urgency of addressing the disrespect and violence endured by Cattle Rangers.

In response to these challenges, Cattle Rangers issued a heartfelt plea to all road users for the respect they rightfully deserve. They emphasized the critical role their tireless efforts play in preserving lives and averting potentially catastrophic accidents. Additionally, Rangers urged farmers to prioritize the safety of their livestock by adhering to directives issued for their protection.

The discourse between the SMVAF Executive Committee and Cattle Rangers has shed light on the pressing issue of disrespect and non-compliance faced by those entrusted with safeguarding road users from livestock-related accidents. It underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to rectify this situation, fostering a culture of mutual respect and cooperation among all stakeholders. Only through collective action can the safety of roads be ensured and the risk of tragic accidents mitigated.

In response, SMVAF CEO Myeni, assured Rangers of continued support and provision of working equipment for their endeavors.

Myeni expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Rangers for their dedicated efforts in minimizing road accidents, acknowledging the sobering statistics that show 200 lives lost annually, averaging four fatalities per week due to road accidents.He also extended appreciation to local chiefs for their pivotal role in facilitating the deployment of Rangers, emphasizing their contribution to road safety initiatives across Eswatini.

In a significant move, Myeni declared a transformative shift in the Rangers’ designation.Henceforth, Cattle Rangers will be referred to as “traffic observers,” signifying an expanded scope of responsibilities beyond just removing livestock from roadsides. 

These observers will now also help report potholes and other road defects, which in turn would help the Fund’s Accident Prevention and Public Education Department report to the relevant authorities.

Myeni reaffirmed the collective dedication to creating safer roads for all, emphasizing innovation, partnership, and unwavering commitment as key to reducing accidents and safeguarding communities across Eswatini.

Don’t call us “Bafana BetiNkhomo”, says Road Safety Cattle Rangers.
Don’t call us “Bafana BetiNkhomo”, says Road Safety Cattle Rangers.