Storm kills farmer’s prized cattle

A small-scale farmer in Keiskammahoek has lost six cattle – including a prized ox – after they were electrocuted during a storm on Monday.

TRAGIC END: A small-scale farmer in Keiskammahoek is counting the cost of six head of prized cattle that died after Eskom cables were blown over by strong winds on Monday Picture: SUPPLIED

Strong winds that accompanied the storm downed power lines, which later electrocuted the cattle after they came into contact with them. Peter’s Farm owner, Erol Tonono, said the value of the stock was estimated at R70000, with the ox worth R14000 alone.

Tonono said he wanted power utility, Eskom to compensate him for his loss.

“I’m not interested in the meat,” he said. “I’m very devastated that my cows were killed. I’m waiting for a veterinarian to conduct a postmortem to advise me whether the meat can be eaten or whether we should just destroy it. I will submit a claim to Eskom,” he said.

Tonono said he had since called Eskom to fix the wires that were still lying in his field.

“The wires were live and posing a danger to the people and animals.

“I’ve asked Eskom to come and fix the lines,” he said.

“They had told me that they had recorded the matter as an emergency and I should wait for a technician to come and fix it in no time.”

A technician from Bulembu was sent to the scene and had inspected the lines but left without saying anything, Tonono said.

“Eskom later told me that they had isolated the line and therefore the lines were no longer live – but we don’t trust that,” he said.

Eskom spokesman Zama Mpondwana said: “Our technicians attended to the faults and made the area safe. They returned today [Tuesday] to repair the conductors that were down. The matter of the cattle that were allegedly electrocuted is under investigation.”

Tonono said the lines had snapped during the storm and had fallen across the field.

“When the line hit the field it made a huge blasting sound.”

Tonono said the sound of the blast sent the cows into a panic, causing a stampede. “The six cows ran towards the wires and came into contact with them and were electrocuted,” he said, adding that the wires had also damaged a fence on his farm when they fell, splitting it in half.

Tonono, who has a herd of 38 cattle, herded the remaining cattle away from the danger zone as they were headed towards the area where the other cattle were electrocuted.

The cattle were Brahman and Nguni crossbreeds.

“I made the crossbreed so that the cattle can withstand diseases, bugs and drought,” he said.

Mpondwana had not responded to e-mailed questions from the Daily Dispatch at the time of writing yesterday. — malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

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