police inspector up for stealing cattle

Alex Matlala

Police in Limpopo have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that no one is above the law by arresting a colleague accused of committing a crime.

Their "no nonsense" approach to curbing crime in the province was proved yesterday when they arrested a 43-year-old police inspector for allegedly stealing cattle.

The policeman is attached to the stock theft unit in Lephalale, near the Limpopo and Botswana border. He is expected to appear in the local magistrate's court today.

His arrest follows that of two other men apprehended at the weekend. The duo was allegedly caught loading cattle belonging to villagers onto a truck.

The men, John Maleboloa and Sipho Lehutso, both aged 27, told the court during their appearance on Monday that they were working in cahoots with the inspector.

According to the provincial coordinator for stock theft, Superintendent Alpheus Mokale, the men told the court that their job was to steal cattle, which they sold and later shared the money.

The men told the court that the inspector had promised to protect them since he was in charge of the stock theft unit in the area.

On hearing the news, the court issued a warrant of arrest for the inspector, who was arrested while on duty.

Jankie Monanyane of Abbotspoort village near Lephalale said he discovered that two of his cattle were missing when he went to the grazing site on Saturday.

The following day he was called by the police to a farm a few kilometres from the village to identify his cattle, he said.

Monanyane said there had been mysterious disappearances trace of stock recently, and that it was always suspected police were working with thieves.

He said he would be "very happy" if those charged with stealing his cattle were sent to prison for a long time.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said yesterday that more stock theft victims had been coming forward since the inspector's arrest.

Ramatseba said investigations were continuing and that more charges against the inspector might be added.