The Molopo Magistrates’ Court granted bail to the seven suspects accused of stock-theft-related charges, and their case was remanded to 31 January 2023, for further investigations. They are facing 5 preliminary charges of theft, failure to provide a satisfactory account of the possession of livestock, acquiring stock from persons whose places of residence are unknown, transporting livestock along the road without a certificate and absence of reasonable cause believing that the livestock has been properly acquired.

Bail was granted as follows, Willem Petrus Boshoff (R10 000), Carel Stephan Wallis (R12 000), Ntlhothana Motswabangwe (R5000), Rapula Letsapa (R3000), Johannes Wessel (R5000), Simon Wessel (R5000) and Janine Hill (R5000). The court placed all of them under house arrest, however, permitted them to only attend their place of work. They were also ordered to report to their nearest police stations every Monday and Friday, between 06h00 and 18h00. Furthermore, they are required not to interfere with the state’s witnesses.

Their court appearance emanates from their arrest on 10 November 2022, after they were found in possession of suspected stolen livestock, with an estimated value of R500 000. Police reports reveal that the suspects were arrested, following a suspicious activity which was observed by a farmer, who notices a truck and bakkies, with a trailer carrying livestock. He then notified other farmers around Ottoshoop, and they tracked the suspicious bakkie to a farm in Koenlambrechts farm between Mahikeng and Lichtenburg.

Police were then notified, and the suspects were arrested while trying to leave the farm, and 9 cattle were found at the back of the bakkie. A truck linked to the theft was also intercepted by the police carrying 18 cattle, which the driver failed to account for. Further investigations by the police led them to Windheuwel farm, and 14 suspected stolen livestock was discovered and taken by the police for further investigations. A total of 42 cattle were discovered, through a collaborative operation between farmers and the police.

The North West Director of Public Prosecutions expressed her respect for the bail judgement, although it didn’t favour the state. “Ours now is to gather evidence and complete the investigations in preparation for trial. We commit ourselves to the fight against the scourge of stock theft in our province”, she concluded.

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