Drive to protect livestock

IN A bid to reduce the high rate of livestock theft in Limpopo, the police's stock theft unit has embarked on a campaign to teach farmers about ways of protecting their stock.

The campaign, called "Operation Community," started earlier this year after an increase in the number of farmers reporting stock theft.

Superintendent Alpheus Mokale, the head of the stock theft unit in the province, said the police and communities will discuss tactics to minimise the continuous theft of livestock.

"We are disturbed because most of the livestock are stolen while left unattended in the bushes.

"We would like to warn communities to safeguard them because it is their wealth," he said.

According to Mokale, since January this year 2850 cattle were stolen, 1970 of which were recovered; while 578 sheep were stolen and 268 recovered.

Also reported stolen were 2211 goats, 56 donkeys, 28 pigs, and 83 game animals (lions and other wild animals).

He said 493 suspects were arrested, with 164 convictions.

Some of the suspects were fined amounts ranging from R500 to R50000, while others were sentenced to between six months and 15 years.

Mokale said most of the goats were stolen in the Dennilton area, Moutse, Mecklenburg and Tubatse.

He added that cattle theft was most rife in Letsitele, Mahwelereng, Dennilton and Giyani.

Mokale appealed to stock farmers to help minimise theft by marking their livestock.