Police Minister Bheki Cele has described stock theft as economic sabotage. Addressing the farming community at an Imbizo in Bethlehem, Cele said a response task team will be formed to address burning issues in the farming community.
Cele visited the area to give feedback to the farming community regarding criminal activity. The minister says police officers who are involved in criminal activities will be dealt with.
“We will have to agree with agriculture and farmers that at a certain given point there will have to be some form of auditing of herd of cattle. Even with commercial farmers, some form of giving a proper account of the stock you have.”
Farmers in the Eastern Free State said last month they lose over a million rand a month due to stock theft. This was raised during their meeting with Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
The meeting was an attempt to quell tensions in the area following a violent protest that erupted in Senekal after two men made a brief appearance for the murder of a 21-year-old farm manager, Brendin Horner.
The farming community has pleaded with ministers to make crimes against the community a priority.
Chairperson of Rural Safety in the Eastern Free State, Herkie Viljoen says for years the farming community has been asking for assistance from the government.
Farming community emotional after Horner’s murder
The brutal murder of Horner stirred emotions in the farming community. Horner was killed on a farm in Paul Roux in early October. His body was found with a rope around his neck and tied to a pole.
Horner was killed on his one-year anniversary as a farm manager. Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa, who were arrested for his murder, appeared in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court in October. On the day of their appearance farmers from across the country descended on Senekal – to raise their voices against farm murders.