Livestock theft concerns local farmers

MBOMBELA – Local farmers and several livestock owners are crying foul over the growing trend of stock theft in their areas.

Some have attributed the tendency to the price of read meat which has dramatically increased, blaming butchers of stealing from them.

“We used to have local butchery owners buying livestock from us but lately it hasn’t been the case, instead our cattle keep on disappearing. We have reported the matter at the police station but that hasn’t stop the thieves. They are continuing with cleaning our kraals,” said a concerned Mr Vusi Vilakazi from Numbi Trust.

Another cattle owner, Ms Florah Mathonsi, who claims that he has lost over 30 bulls in the past six months said she’s disturbed by the people who sell red meat from buckets at different social grants payout centres.

“I can’t help wondering if it wasn’t our stock slaughtered for that meat. It’s a pity our people flock to them because they sell the meat at ridiculously low prices,” she said.
Masoyi police have confirmed that they have a number of cases reported at their station, but they could not link them to any butchery owner.

A case of stock theft is under investigation by local police after five carcases of cows were found in an open field. According to the police, the carcases were found with only their heads, legs and intestines remaining, which led to an indication that the cows had been slaughtered.

Speaking for the local police, Const Naniki Nonyane said that a local herd man told the police that he had discovered that his cows were missing in the morning and went on a search. He later found the remains and alerted the police.

“No arrests have been made so far, but a case of stock theft has been opened,” said Nonyane.
In Makoko, local police are searching for two suspects in connection with stock-theft. According to the police the suspects were driving in a white Nissan bakkie which was covered with blankets at the back.

The police then tried to stop the suspects, but they fled and later hit a tree. They then fled the scene and upon searching the car, the police discovered five slaughtered cows.

Here are five hints to prevent stock theft, courtesy of Grain SA:

*Livestock owners should keep all fences and gates in proper condition to protect their livestock.

*Many court cases are lost because of disputes regarding the proper identification of animals. If an animal is marked with a registered brand mark or tattoo, disputes will be avoided.

*Be particularly watchful during full moon, weekends and at the end or beginning of a month or during periods that you know from your own experience, when stock thefts (slaughtering for the pot) occur.

*Report unknown animals among your animals immediately to the SAPS and your neighbours.

*When considering applicants for employment (herdsmen), enquiries should be made at previous employers to establish the real reason why an employee had left his previous job.

Nomvula Chawane

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