Kaunda wants community to declare war on stock theft
DECLARE war against stock theft.
That’s what the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda has asked the community of Dr Nkosazane DlaminiZuma Municipality to do.
Speaking at a stock theft meeting attended by farmers, community crime fighting structures and law enforcement agencies from the Harry Gwala District, Kaunda said that although stock theft was problematic in the area, police have made great strides in arresting 42 suspects implicated in stock theft in the district.
The meeting is part of a month-long November Safety Month programme, which involves engaging communities on crime challenges facing their areas, roadblocks, tracing and identification of crime suspects as well as stop and search operations to recover drugs and illegal firearms.
Recently released crime statistics ranked Harry Gwala third in the province and 10th in the country for stock theft, with 377 cases reported since April this year.
Police have identified Bulwer, Ixopo, Mpendle and Umzimkhulu as hot-spot areas for stock theft.
However, since 2014, there has been a decline in this category of crime in the district.
“While we commend the police for their sterling work in bringing this category of crime under control, we remain concerned that the rate of recovery of livestock remains low.
“We therefore urge members of the community to work with the police and report cases of stock theft early,” said Kaunda.
Police have committed to improving investigations, enforcing the Animal Identification Act, conducting intelligence-driven operations and pursuing wanted stock theft suspects.
Kaunda urged the community to work closely with the police through stock theft forums.
He committed government, particularly the Department of Community Safety and Liaison, agriculture and municipalities, in conducting stock theft awareness campaigns aimed at educating livestock owners about safeguarding and correct branding of livestock.
He also urged municipalities to work closely with traditional leaders in ensuring that members of the community are able to access their livestock when recovered. — Witness Reporter.