Po­lice move to rid coun­try of cat­tle rustlers 1,6m cat­tle branded

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Free­man Razemba Crime Re­porter

NERALY 1,6 mil­lion cat­tle have been branded coun­try­wide, as po­lice launch a mas­sive crack­down to get rid of cat­tle rustlers and their mar­kets in the meat in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sta­tis­tics 1 567 073 cat­tle were branded between 2009 to date.

At least 3 372 614 cat­tle are yet to be branded, ahead of the De­cem­ber 2017 dead­line.

In an in­ter­view, po­lice anti-stock theft na­tional co-or­di­na­tor Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Eras­mus Makodza said they have in­tro­duced uni­ver­sal cat­tle bran­ders which they have since dis­trib­uted to the coun­try’s 10 prov­inces.

“The uni­ver­sal bran­ders will brand all the vil­lagers’ cat­tle and it is only a mat­ter of chang­ing the al­pha­bets on them. We have since re­alised that all the live­stock be­ing stolen are not branded and our thrust is to en­sure that by De­cem­ber 2017 all live­stock would have been branded.

“The brand­ing is for cat­tle and don­keys and ear- tags for goats and sheep to curb stock­theft ac­tiv­i­ties,” he said.

Snr Asst Comm Makodza said they had lob­bied the Gov­ern­ment through the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment to en­sure that all cat­tle above six months should be branded.

“There is a slight in­crease in cat­tle be­ing stolen and we be­lieve that the meat is be­ing sold to un­reg­is­tered food out­lets and butcheries. We have since launched a mas­sive op­er­a­tion tar­get­ing them. The op­er­a­tion is con­tin­u­ing un­til there is san­ity,” he said.

He said they would also be lob­by­ing the ju­di­ciary to en­sure that all cat­tle rustlers and those ar­rested for stock theft ac­tiv­i­ties get de­ter­rent sen­tences.

Snr Asst Comm Makodza re­cently said 95 per­cent of cat­tle that were stolen this year were not branded.

In June, po­lice called for an in­ten­si­fied cat­tle brand­ing in re­sponse to an up­surge in stock theft between Jan­u­ary and May 2016, com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

Ad­dress­ing a Zim­babwe Repub­lic Po­lice and Busi­ness Anti-Stock Theft Fo­rum an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Bernard Dum­bura, said the rate of stock theft had in­creased by 16 per­cent in 2016.

Sta­tis­tics in­di­cated that a to­tal of 3 535 cat­tle were stolen between Jan­u­ary and May 2015 whilst 4 103 cat­tle were stolen in the 2016 cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod.

File pic­ture of cat­tle brand­ing at Godzo Dip Tank in Tsholot­sho, Mata­bele­land North Snr Asst Comm Eras­mus Makodza

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