Stock theft ‘serious’, with 26,000 sheep stolen in 3 months

Thousands of sheep and cattle were stolen across the country, crime stats show. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Dmitry Pichugin

“Stock theft is a serious problem that needs serious attention, not just from us as the police but other departments that can assist in curbing this crime,” he said during a briefing on crime statistics for the second quarter of 2020/2021 in Pretoria.

Cele said over three months in the period under review, 26,322 sheep were stolen, while 7,339 cases of stock theft were opened countrywide.

More than 14,000 cattle were also stolen and ended up “in abattoirs and on the plates of unsuspecting South Africans”, Cele said.

“If we are to rid the country of stock theft, we have to tackle the whole value chain, from the top right down to which butchery this stolen meat ends up [in].

“This crime, which I believe is a form of economic sabotage, needs to be tackled not just by the police but also have the buy-in of other departments that can assist in the tracking, tracing, marking and movement of stock.”

On Thursday, during a meeting with concerned farmers in Bethlehem in the Free State, Cele said a task team had been established to look into stock theft.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Iavan Pijoos


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