Theft of domestic animals has reached alarming proportions in Limpopo, which has an agriculture-dependent economy.
The province loses approximately R103 million annually from stock theft.
A report on the economic impact of stock theft between April 2017 and March last year in Limpopo found that the value of cattle stolen was R90 688 000, for sheep it was R2 862 000 and for goats the amount was R10 364 200.
The Democratic Alliance said it had written to Limpopo provincial police commissioner Nneke Ledwaba requesting his immediate intervention to stop the escalating theft of domestic animals.
“We are convinced that the stock theft unit in Limpopo is not adequately resourced as livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats remain the main targets,” said Limpopo DA provincial chairperson Jacques Smalle yesterday.
Smalle said stock theft was the biggest property-related crime in the province. He said that if it continued unabated, it would eventually strain the sustainability of agriculture in the province.
“It is clear that the South African Police Service are increasingly unable to protect rural communities, not only from farm attacks and murders, but also from thieves stealing livestock.
“Rural local economies are dependent on the agricultural sector and it is imperative that livestock is protected,” he added.
Smalle said the reintroduction of specialised rural crime fighting units to prevent and investigate specific crimes, such as farm attacks, stock theft, rape and murder, was crucial.
“We urge the police commissioner to increase police support, resources and visibility in all the rural communities and ensure that the policing forums are effective enough to combat stock theft,” he said.
Yesterday, Limpopo MEC for agriculture and land reform Basikopo Makamu urged farmers to put tags on their domestic animals and keep them in fenced enclosures to help prevent theft.
By Alex Matlala – firstname.lastname@example.org