Horse crash runaround

Horses grazing freely on an open field on the corner of Lake Road and Fisherman Walk in Zeekoeivlie yesterday. Residents maintain animals roaming in residential areas could be a hazard to motorists.

A Grassy Park man who drove into a horse which had been wandering on Fisherman’s Walk, in Zeekoevlei, is asking who should take responsibility for the extensive damage done to his BMW.

Sharmil Salie, a pensioner, traced the owner of the injured mare to Schaapkraal but he still doesn’t know how he will pay for the estimated R50 000 damage to his car as the horses had been reported stolen.

Mr Salie first contacted police who referred him to the SPCA, who in turn referred him to Law Enforcement and the Road Accident Fund as well as the owner of the horse.

Mr Salie said he was on his way to family in New Horizon on Saturday April 28 and he drove through Fisherman’s Walk at 8.15pm.

Just after he went over the bridge at the canal, a horse came from the pavement, on his right, and stepped into the road in front of his car. He said there were speed humps in that road so he could not have been driving faster than 50km an hour.

“I knocked into the horse. It fell onto my bonnet and hit my windscreen. As I stopped the horse stayed on the ground for a few seconds, then it got up and walked slowly to the other side of the road, where I saw another horse standing. I wasn’t injured although there were splinters all over me inside the car.”

Mr Salie said he was shocked but he was more disappointed because of the damage to his car. “I am an old man and I don’t work every day but I do odd jobs here and there. And I need the money to survive.”

Mr Salie said a couple came out of one of the houses in gowns about two minutes later. “They told me there were horses frequenting the area and they had predicted that something like this would happen.

Mr Salie said he went to Grassy Park SAPS on Sunday April 29.

Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith, spokesperson for Grassy Park SAPS, confirmed that an accident report was logged, but no criminal case opened.

Mr Salie’s next hope was the SPCA. “After I contacted the SPCA, they told me three horses were collected by their owner who had been searching for them for a week as they had been stolen off his property.

Southern Mail requested confirmation from the SPCA and Belinda Abraham, communications, resource development and education manager, said the horses had been stolen and the owner had been searching for them for some time. “He could not be held accountable in this instance. Three horses, including the injured mare, were brought to the SPCA.”

When Southern Mail called owner Adnaan Brenner, from Schaapkraal, he said he reported the horses stolen at Grassy Park SAPS on April 27, as well as at the SPCA.

“I had to check with the SPCA to find out if they had found the horses. I went after the public holiday on Wednesday May 2 and I had to bring my documents to prove that the horses were mine – two mares and one stallion before I collected them.”

Mr Brenner trains horses for shows. “Unfortunately, the injured mare cannot perform in shows anymore. I can only look after her now, but her career is over. I can’t blame the man who knocked into the horse, because accidents happen.”

However, Mr Salie is still sitting with the bill for his BMW.

Southern Mail asked Ms Abraham who Mr Salie should contact to claim compensation for damages and she suggested the Road Accident Fund.

Thandeka Ngwenya, public relations and reputation management specialist of the Road Accident Fund, said in Mr Salie’s case the collision was caused by the actions of a horse, which resulted in Mr Salie’s car being damaged, and he would not be able to claim.

She said claims can only be submitted in a collision, for example, with a passenger or a pedestrian who may have suffered bodily injury, or where the collision resulted in the death of a person.

Southern Mail contacted the City’s Law Enforcement and asked if all accidents involving animals should be reported to them.

Executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the City’s Animal Control Unit would deal with any animals found roaming on public roads and places that pose a risk to public health and safety. When asked if the owner is guilty of allowing the horses to roam the streets, would he be liable to pay for damages, Mr Bosman said: “This would be for a court of law to decide. The City’s Animal Control Unit would compile a docket including statements from all parties involved, photographic evidence and medical reports.”