North West farmers frustrated by escalating livestock theft

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Recent provincial stock theft statistics show that almost 900 herds of stolen livestock were counted just in the month of March 2022. Farmers in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District in the North West say this enormous challenge must be addressed.

One of the farmers Khatleli Khatleli says, “The challenge about stock theft is that it is a daily thing, then you are met with the challenge of reporting the case. I am one of those who reported stock theft at Mmabatho police station. The trace of my stolen herd will be lost while the police are investigating. Imbizos like these are important, they must be held now and then so that we can raise our concerns with hope that action will be taken.”

Other farmers are equally frustrated adding that they have sought assistance day and night and that stock theft in Modimolle is an enormous challenge.

“Three goats were stolen just on Wednesday, stock theft is rife. We know people who are stealing our stock. We arrest them and take them to the police but the police let them go.” they add.

Police say the integrated Imbizo with farmers is part of intensifying crime in different district.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabatha Mokgwabone explains, “As part of intensifying the fight against crime in various districts, amongst other we conduct integrated and stabilization operations or interventions, as well as proactive and collaborative approaches. This is done to ensure that we engage and hear from the farmers themselves about the challenges they encounter. We may indicate that approaches may be different from one district to another depending on the crime being addressed.”

Farmers who attended this Imbizo hope that the police services’ action will change the status quo and help deal with stock theft. They say though the Imbizo will assist with dealing with the issue but they don’t have much confidence in the police.

They explain, “The police has just promised us that things will change and we won’t see this much damage anymore, we’ll see if they honour their promises.”

Farmers say this threatens the long-term sustainability of livestock production and is costing them millions of rands.