Limpopo SAPS Stock Theft units remain under resourced whilst incidents of stock theft soars

LUTENDO LIVHEBE – MUDAU. The DA will table a motion with notice at the next sitting of the Limpopo legislature to debate tangible solutions to the increase in theft of livestock and the effects this has on the agricultural sector.

The increase in reported incidents of stock theft as indicated by the crime statistics for the 2nd quarter of 2022/23 is gravely concerning.

During July to September 2022, 741 incidents of stock theft were reported, up from 567 for the same period in 2021.

The 30.7 % increase in stock theft has devastating consequences for communal as well as commercial farmers.

Live stock is the economic backbone in rural areas and stock theft directly affects future economic and agricultural activities, threatening food security.

In 2020 Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, confirmed that stock theft was a problem and stated that he would improve the situation; however, reported incidents increased at an alarming rate.

We believe that the exponential increase in stock theft is indicative of negligible policing and a questionable approach to the problem. A lack of resources, specifically vehicles compound the challenges around effective policing.

There are only 8 Stock Theft and Endangered Species units in Limpopo with 80 SAPS officials who share 44 vehicles.

According to the National Livestock Theft Prevention Forum, cases not being reported to police were increasing and resulted in a skewed picture of the rate of livestock theft in the country.

The lack of arrests and successful prosecution stiffens the resolve of these syndicates to continue with their illicit activities.

The predisposed hardships that come with being a farmer cannot be aggravated by living in fear that your livelihood will be stolen. The DA will continue to hold the SAPS accountable to their mandate of effective policing in our rural areas.

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