The main aims of the Road Ranger programme are to reduce road accidents and monitor stray animals through community involvement.
With South African roads always busy during the December break, the Road Rangers make an important contribution to the overall December Road Safety Plan of the Transport Department.
The programme therefore serves to promote awareness and create ownership of road safety in communities, particularly in rural areas. In addition, the rangers also guard against the theft of road fences.
Horses and bicycles
The Road Rangers use horses and bicycles to patrol major routes that have a high incidence of road accidents caused by stray animals. The routes include the R61 in the OR Tambo District, as well as the R63 and R72 in the Amathole District and many others that have high accident rates.
The project, which was started in late 2007 with 22 rangers, has grown to 404 rangers throughout the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape Transport Department uses this project as an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to provide short- and long-term job opportunities in rural communities.
Road rangers must have their own horse and saddle. They must be able to read and write and be physically fit and healthy. In addition, they must be familiar with the area to be patrolled and must live close to the road where there are problems of stray animals.
Each ranger is allocated a distance of five kilometres to patrol. In addition to monitoring stray animals, their duties include repairing fences and gates along the road, communicating with provincial traffic police and helping with scholar patrols and road crossings.
They get a monthly allowance of R3 000 of which R1 000 is set aside for the maintenance of their horses. They also get binoculars, reflective protective clothing and red flags.
Other than SEDA and Volkswagen SA, the co-operative also received help from the Uitenhage Despatch Development Initiative. This is a local organisation focusing on developing SMMEs in the area
- Mbulelo Baloyi