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Straying donkey hit by car, farmer fined

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By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

IN one of the rare cases to reach court, a man has been found guilty after his straying donkey damaged a car.

Samuel Maphalala, employed by Build It Hardware in Nhlangano, was in court yesterday for having failed to take control of his donkey which was bumped by a vehicle driven by one Mabandla Kunene.

Maphalala, who appeared before Magistrate Mandla Mkhaliphi, told the court that he had not sent the donkey to the road when the accident happened. “What happened was not deliberate. I gathered that my donkey was bumped after straying to the road, having been enticed by maize that had spilled on the road. It was while it ate the maize that the vehicle hit it,” the accused told the court. He asked the court to be lenient with him and his donkey, saying although he was responsible for the donkey, he did not take part in its straying into the road.

Magistrate Mkhaliphi remarked that the excuses forwarded by the accused were immaterial. He said with a number of lives lost in the country’s roads as a result of straying animals, the accused should not find it an excuse that what caused the accident was the spilled maize.

“Allowing your animals to stray on the road is a serious offence. It makes no excuse that you did not send the animal. Whether you were not at home on the day in question cannot be considered,” said Magistrate Mkhaliphi. He advised animal owners to always make it a point that they take full control of their animals.

“Unless you have a lot of money, ignore my advice. The penalty for animal owners is severe and for a case like this one, one has to part with not less than E2 000 or two years in jail. The other thing, even the motorist is entitled to apply for compensation for the damage caused on his vehicle,” said Magistrate Mkhaliphi. He later sentenced him to pay a fine of E500 or 50 days in jail.

He paid the fine. Maphalala conducted his own defence while Mandla Dlamini represented the Crown.

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