LEPHALALE — Limpopo SAPS visited the Lephalale policing area on Thursday 21 November at the Martinique Community hall as part of a Stock Theft Crime Awareness Campaign.
Members of the SAPS Stock Theft Division urged the community to take care of their livestock. It includes counting livestock regularly, keeping a controlled livestock register, marking livestock and prevent them from going astray on the roads.
The community was advised to brand their livestock. Stock theft has hit some areas in the villages hard, and community members and traditional leaders were encouraged to work with Police in looking out for each other’s livestock. They should also be wary of potential thieves who steal livestock and register them as theirs.
Community members were also advised not to touch foreign items they find in their kraal or crime scenes where there has been stock theft but instead to call Police who will assist with getting the forensic team.
Colonel Alpheus Mokale from the Provincial Specific Crime Prevention said that the current Stock Theft Act was drawn up in 1956, and a lot has changed since then.
He said that they had made suggestions and recommendations that the ID and Brand certificate should be some of the requirements needed when going for auction to avoid the selling of stolen livestock.
Mokale also spoke about a strong need to have an animal pound for stolen livestock or livestock roaming the streets so that the owners will have to pay to get them back.
“I humbly request that, as responsible citizens, not to buy livestock that has been stolen, or from someone that you know doesn’t have livestock. You will be indirectly supporting thieves by purchasing from such people.
“You also need to know that when you buy a cow, it must be branded within 14 days. You must keep the receipt for a year even if you sell it within a short period.
“When you brand, do not do it on the initial brand as that will work against you”.
Some residents raised concerns over their cattle getting into farms and being kept there or killed, while a farmer complained of cattle with the potential of foot and mouth disease entering his premises, fearing that they may be contagious. Solutions were sought to deal with such situations.
Mokale advised farmers to speak with Police and traditional leaders whenever they experience problems. They were also requested to contact Police who will enclose the livestock in an animal pound and hold the owners accountable for any damage incurred.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development issued a statement a while ago, advising farmers and livestock owners that all parties transacting with cloven-hoofed animals should observe the utmost caution. All gatherings of animals from more than one source, including auctions, livestock shows, and speculative transactions, are discouraged until the exact situation is known.
SAPS emphasized this message and encouraged all to await the day an official announcement will be made.