Cattle farmers cry foul

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

More than 27 black cattle farmers in Ventersdorp, North West, are up in arms, accusing their white counterparts of stealing their livestock and selling the animals for cash.

They claim that the problem began in June 2005 when the predominantly Afrikaner farmers began confiscating and auctioning off their cattle, forcing them to pay for their own herds.

Farmer Mogano Motlhaso said: "We are tired of this. Every time our cows strayed over to their grazing land they confiscated them while we always return theirs when they cross over to our side. That, to me, is daylight theft."

The group has formed an organisation, Baipelaetsi, which means the complainants.

Motlhaso said they had so far lost 25 head of cattle. Of these, 20 had already been sold or auctioned.

He said Baipelaetsi had laid criminal charges with the Ventersdorp police, but to date there had been no development in the case.

Another complainant, Mmamothonyana Morakabe, said if they did not have the money to pay the white farmers to release their cattle, the animals were auctioned.

"The white farmers pocket the money from the sale. The 20 cows have been sold and so far they are still holding five cattle. They are just waiting for the owners to come and pay in order for them to be released," she said.

Morakabe said the kgosi has been unable to resolve the matter.