KING WILLIAM'S TOWN – South African Police Service (SAPS) officers from various units in the Eastern Cape have recovered suspected stolen livestock and appealed to farmers and owners to ensure that their livestock are secure and easily recognisable through branding.
The theft of livestock is not seen as just another theft of property. Often, even small numbers of livestock, represent the livelihood of a family and their means to sustain themselves, hence the SAPS views stock theft cases in a very serious light, Eastern Cape SAPS spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said in a statement on Saturday.
“SAPS has implemented a special project to enhance the capacity of stock theft units throughout the province and this should have a positive impact on the curbing of this crime.”
A recent joint operation, dubbed Operation Catch Up, which was held across three districts – Joe Gqabi, Alfred Nzo, and OR Tambo – and supported by the Maluti and Mqanduli stock theft units and the Katkop visible policing unit led to the recovery of 17 cattle, 13 sheep, and one horse, Soci said.
Thirteen cattle were recovered at Nyango location in the Katkop policing area while 13 sheep, four cattle, and a horse were recovered in the Sithaleni area, also in the Katkop policing area. Two of the cattle were found tied up with wire around their legs at Sithaleni forest.
“All the recovered stock is yet to be identified and SAPS appeals to anyone who might have lost stock to contact the investigating officer Captain Mochao on 072-580-2496 or to visit the Maluti stock theft unit,” Soci said.
Operation Catch Up resumed on Friday but no arrests were made during the operation.
“SAPS continues to call on farmers and stock owners to count their stock regularly and immediately report any missing stock or stock recovered. It is important that farmers and/or stock owners brand their livestock. This becomes very crucial in identifying stock and for court proceedings.
“It is also important that farmers comply with the Stock Theft Act and ensure that the necessary documentation is issued when stock is sold and transported. These documents can be obtained from local police stations,” Soci said.