The Hawks have arrested five police officers based in the stock theft unit in Ladybrand in the Free State.

The Hawks say the arrests come after comprehensive investigations into allegations made by farmers to the police minister during his visit to the area last year.

The farmers said they had stopped reporting stock theft cases to the police because they were allegedly involved in the crime.

Cele met with the farmers after the murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner.

Free State Hawks spokesperson Christopher Singo says: “The task team was initiated then we started with our investigation which led to the arrest of this five police officers. This is the first phase of the ongoing investigations. So there will be a number of people and even police who are going to be arrested who are involved in the issue of stock theft. This morning we arrested two farmers in Bloemfontein who were working with this police officials so we are still going to arrest a lot of people.”

In October 2020, Free State farmers said they lose over a million rand a month due to stock theft: