More po­lice needed to fight stock theft

The Mercury - - COMPANIES - Luy­olo Mken­tane

THE SAPS is short of 321 per­son­nel to boost the num­bers of of­fi­cers deal­ing with live­stock theft.

Cur­rently, there are 1236 of­fi­cers spread across the nine prov­inces deal­ing with the prob­lem.

Brigadier OJ Kgopodithata, ad­dress­ing the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries sem­i­nar on the is­sue in Pretoria yes­ter­day, said the Eastern Cape was the lead­ing prov­ince af­fected by live­stock theft.

The for­mer Transkei cap­i­tal of Mthatha was one of the hot spots where the theft was rife, with 312 re­ported cases, fol­lowed by Ma­luti with 282, Qumbu 275 and Su­lenkama at 273.

Kgopodithata said the Eastern Cape had 22 SAPS stock theft units, Free State 11, Gaut­eng 2, KwaZu­luNatal 18, Lim­popo 8, Mpumalanga 11, North­ern Cape and North West 7 each and Western Cape 6.

He ac­cused live­stock thieves of be­ing in ca­hoots with farm­work­ers, but said farm­ers were to blame as well, for do­ing lit­tle to brand their live­stock.

Kgopodithata said some of the chal­lenges the po­lice faced were a lack of a state/mu­nic­i­pal pound; non-ex­is­tence of leg­is­la­tion re­lat­ing to live­stock; and poor con­di­tion of bor­der fences. He called for com­mu­ni­ties to be part of their lo­cal polic­ing fo­rums.

De­spite the chal­lenges, the SAPS con­vic­tion rate was over 80.9 per­cent, with sen­tences rang­ing from eight to 24 years in jail.

Farm­ers who at­tended the sum­mit said, how­ever, that a large per­cent­age of them didn’t re­port stock theft be­cause of frus­tra­tion with the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

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