By Mashudu Netsianda
Police at Beit Bridge have launched an anti-stock-theft operation, following an upsurge in cases of organised cross-border cattle rustling in the district.
Police spokesperson Chief Supt Patrick Majuta said it was revealed during a district crime consultative meeting held at Lutumba Business Centre on Friday that 131 cases of stock theft were reported between January and December last year. He said 143 heads of cattle, 98 donkeys, 32 sheep, 290 goats and 201 chickens were lost.
"We are worried about the rampant theft of livestock around the Beit Bridge district. We are fully aware that livestock farming is the main agricultural activity in this area, and we have intensified the fight against stock theft. It is shocking that, out of 143 cattle that were stolen last year, we only recovered 53 and our worry is that some cases go unreported. We are therefore calling on members of the community to complement our efforts in the fight against stock theft," he said.
Majuta said they had tightened regulations controlling the movement and sale of livestock. "We have introduced brand and sales registers of all livestock, that will be kept by both traditional leaders and the police for easy accountability and crime detection.”
The spokesperson of the Beit Bridge Farmers Association, Mr Salatiel Muleya, urged traditional leaders and the local authority to complement police efforts in fighting the scourge. He said some the stolen cattle were smuggled out of the country to South Africa and Mozambique through the Sengwe and Madimbo corridors.