Each in Mozambique
…Impressive rains in Lubombo Plateu vis-à-vis drought in neighbouring communities in Mozambique and South Africa increased demand of beef from Eswatini in the two countries
n what could be viewed as a major factor that worsens the theft of cattle in the country and their rustling to the neighboring Mozambique, cows from the country fetch huge amounts of money when sold in that country.
Cattle farmers in the Lobombo region have learnt that cows from Eswatini fetch as much as E18 000 each, especially in the Mozambican black market. That is what is fuelling the rife theft of livestock in the country with cattle then rustled to Mozambique and the South African communities close to the Swazi borderline along the Lubombo Plateau.
It was widely reported last week that about 474 cattle worth over E2 million have been stolen from the Kingdom of Eswatini and rustled into Mozambique in the past two years with the exact value of the rustled cattle being E2 273 600.
This is despite that the police services from the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cattle rustling, which was implemented in 2014.
National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula was in Mozambique for a bilateral meeting from in the past two weeks with a delegation that comprised Director General for Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Services Sam Mthembu, Regional Commissioner Lubombo Policing and Territorial Region Musa Zwane, Police attaché’ at the Eswatini High Commission in Maputo Vusi
IDlamini, officers in the Police Information and Communications Office Inspector Muzi Dlamini and Constable Zwide Maseko.
The meeting, which was led by newly appointed Inspector General Commander Bernardino Rafael of Mozambique, was held in Maputo and it focused on the cross border crime phenomenon affecting the two countries. Extrapolated statistics indicate that the nemesis of theft of stock has been declining by an average of 20 per cent per annum since the signing of the MoU. However, the phenomenon still remains critical with statistics showing that during the period 2016 to date, 474 cattle valued at E2 273 600 were stolen and rustled to Mozambique according to Lubombo region statistics.
Cattle farmers around Mambane, an area situated in the Lubombo Plateau that neighbours Mozambique and South African communities, disclosed to the Observer on Saturday that they are very much aware of the route that their cattle are taken through to reach Mozambique’s capital city of Maputo as they go through Boane.
A resident Jomo Nyawo of Mkhuphulwane in Mambane said they were aware of the high demand of beef in their neighbouring communities in Mozambique and South Africa.
He said such came after the recent El Nino imposed drought that swept across the Southern African region for over two years, but did not affect the Lubombo Plateau given favourable rainfall in the area.
“The drought affected out neighbouring communities a lot, resulting in the mass deaths of cattle in their communities just like it happened in most parts of Eswatini. Our cattle were not affected by the drought as they still had a lot to eat. This then resulted in a huge demand of our cattle in the neighbouring communities and as far as Maputo,” he explained.
Nyawo went on to disclose that what exacerbates the situation is the fact that along the borderlines between the three countries, they are closely related with some people claiming homes in Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa.
He said, therefore, people come and go between the three countries and are found mainly to be the conduits of the rife cattle rustling.
He said as the culprits go about the process of rustling the cattle, they cut holes on the fence that border the countries and just drive them to their various destinations.
“It is people that have relatives on either side of the borderlines that are involved in the rustling. Furthermore, we have Mozambicans that are working in the country’s sugarcane fields as
seasonal sugarcane cutters. They have the opportunity to carefully study the set up in the country and then return with their cohorts to steal the cattle in the country.
“We’re, however, happy with the efforts by Zwane (Musa) Regional Commissioner Lubombo Policing and Territorial Region as he works closely with us in an effort to stop the cattle rustling,” added Nyawo.