Stray cow crash in court

31 January 2019 | Justice

In what is predicted to be a watershed case, and the first of its kind in Namibia, G4S Cash Solutions Namibia is suing the Roads Authority (RA), along with Brigitte Goases as second respondent, for a road accident that occurred between Windhoek and Rehoboth.

In its particulars of claim, G4S says its Iveco armoured truck crashed into a dead cow lying in the road at 22:57 on 19 November 2015.

The company says an earlier collision had occurred “between an unknown truck and Goases's cow, which was roaming the B1 national road.”

“As a result of the first collision, the cow was killed and remained on the road.”

The collision with the dead cow caused the armoured truck to swerve into oncoming traffic, crashing into a Scania truck tractor belonging to WP Transport.

As a result of this crash, G4S says it suffered damages of N$300 065 for damage to its vehicle, assessor's fees, tow-in costs and the cost of an expert to reconstruct the crash.

Moreover, it says WP Transport instituted proceedings against it for damages of N$1 228 436.86, along with 20% interest and costs, for damage to its truck.

For this amount, G4S seeks indemnification, saying the RA and Gaoses should be held responsible. The WP Transport matter has been consolidated with the case against the RA and Goases, G4S said.

According to G4S, Goases was the owner of the cow and by law had a legal responsibility to ensure that the animal did not stray onto the main road by keeping her fences in good order and her gates closed.

She had a “statutory obligation to maintain the fence in terms of the Roads Ordinance of 1972”.

This, the security firm says, Goases did not do.

G4S told the court that the Roads Authority has a “statutory obligation to maintain and repair the cattle grid gate of the D1320 road near Groot Aub”. The RA should have ensured that the fencing around the cattle grid was properly maintained and that the grid did not fill up with sand and stones, G4S argues. It also had to ensure that no stray animals could escape and gain access to the B1 national road.

Both the RA and Goases deny any culpability and in their pleas put the onus of proof onto G4S.

On Monday, Judge Herman Oosthuizen postponed the matter to 18 February for case management. Francois Erasmus appears for G4S while Francois Bangamwabo appears for the RA and Trevor Brockerhoff for Goases.