Police identify five groups behind spate of stock theft in Free State
Police have identified five groups behind numerous stock theft incidents in the crime-ridden farming community of Paul Roux and surrounding areas in the Free State.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane revealed this at a ministerial rural safety imbizo in Bethlehem on Thursday.
Motswenyane was giving feedback after a meeting with concerned farmers in the area on October 13.
The farmers had handed police minister Bheki Cele a report listing the challenges they faced.
These included stock theft, the names of the police officers allegedly involved in crimes and failures of the justice system.
Motswenyane said after receiving the report, a meeting was scheduled with various stakeholders on October 19.
At this meeting it was decided that a task team comprising the Hawks, the State Security Agency, crime intelligence, detectives and the Independent Police Investigate Directorate (Ipid) should investigate allegations raised in the report, said Motswenyane.
The task team would focus on stock theft cases and alleged police corruption.
Motswenyane said cases from Senekal, Paul Roux and Bethlehem dating back to 2012 were investigated.
She said crime intelligence conducted an analysis on the cases and discovered that two men implicated in the murder of Brendin Horner were also involved in these cases.
Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetja Mahlamba are accused of murdering Horner on October 2.
At a previous court appearance in Senekal, Matlaletsa was granted bail of R5,000. Mahlamba’s application was denied.
Motswenyane said a few days after Matlaletsa was released on bail, he was arrested after being linked to previous stock theft cases.
She said the police had identified five groups behind stock theft incidents in the area. The groups were made up of about 28 suspects.
“Together with the director of public prosecutions (DPP), we are going through those dockets to see how best we can investigate, look at the gaps and make sure that they are going to be taken back on the court roll.
“The teams are up and running so that we make sure justice prevails in these cases.”