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