The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that that there have only been two convictions out of the 198 cases of stock theft that have been reported, while there have only been 22 arrests.
Although this indicates an 11 percent decrease in stock theft compared to the same period last year, anecdotal information from the sector paints a different picture.
This information was revealed to me by the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
The value of the stock stolen amounts to R10.2 million.
According to the department the following stock was stolen:
- 62 Sheep
- 63 Cattle
- 26 Goats
- 21 Poultry
- 19 Pigs
- 1 Horse
- 1 Zebra
- 1 Donkey
- 1 Duck
However, the DA is questioning the reliability of the information supplied as the statistics indicate that a criminal case was opened to report the theft of only one duck and one chicken.
In addition, there is a continuing trend of mistrust between agriculture sector and the South African Police Service (SAPS) which is leading to cases not being reported.
Furthermore, livestock breeders are not registering their brandmarks with the stock theft information centre and they are also not tattooing their livestock, which makes recovery and successful conviction that much harder.
Instead of the SAPS providing increased patrols in rural communities where stock theft is increasing because of the lockdown, they are instead deployed to enforce the lockdown regulations, thereby giving a false impression that they are doing their jobs.
This is leading to food security being threatened by a low-grade civil war that is going on in our rural communities. The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Community Safety to work with the agriculture sector to ensure that stock theft is curbed, and that trust is built between law enforcement and the farming community.
Sign our petition here: https://petitions.da.org.za/p/ruralcommunities