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Stock theft has increased exponentially in KZN

13 Sep 2019

The Witness

CHELSEA PIETERSE

 CRIME­ statistics­ have­ shown­ thatstock­ theft­ has­ risen­ exponentially­ inKwaZulu-Natal,­ with­ several­ areas­ falling in­ the­ national­ top­ 30­ list­ forstock­ theft.­ Bergville­ is­ at­ number­ four for­ the­ 2018/2019­ period,­ with­ 213 cases­ registered.­ This­ was­ a­ 26,8%­ increase. Dannhauser­ is­ at­ number­ nine with­ a­ 58,3%­ increase­ in­ stock­ theft cases­ at­ 182­ cases.

Impendle­ came­ in­ at­ number­ 10, with­ over­ 170­ cases,­ while­ Utrecht­ was number­ 12­ and­ Taylor’s­ Halt­ was­ at number­ 16,­ with­ 167­ cases.­ Estcourt appeared­ 19th­ on­ the­ list,­ with­ Ntabamhlope 23rd,­ Bulwer­ 25th,­ Ladysmith 26th­ and­ Osizweni­ 28th.

Stock­ theft­ has­ been­ described­ as “a­ huge­ business”­ with­ sophisticated syndicates­ operating­ across­ the­ province.  Magma­ Security­ and­ Investigations owner­ Shaheen­ Suleiman­ said the­ syndicates­ either­ butchered­ the cattle­ and­ sold­ the­ meat­ or­ sold­ the animals­ for­ slaughter­ at­ weddings,­ funerals, and­ sometimes­ for­ lobola.

He­ had­ said­ stock­ theft­ syndicate­ is typically­ made­ up­ of­ between­ three­ to five­ people.­ “The­ syndicate­ [drives]the­ cow­ into­ a­ nearby­ forest­ where they­ cut­ its­ hamstring,­ making­ it­ fall to­ the­ ground.­ [They]­ then­ kill­ it­ by hitting­ it­ over­ the­ head­ with­ an­ axe.­ It is­ absolutely­ horrific”.

Suleiman­ said­ the­ butchered­ animals were­ sold­ to­ small­ butcheries, hostels­ and­ even­ catering­ companies.

Last­ week,­ Dargle­ farmer­ Rolf­ Aadnesgaard lost­ a­ cow­ and­ her­ calf­ after men­ were­ found­ hacking­ the­ animal with­ pangas­ on­ his­ farm.

Aadnesgaard­ said­ he­ and­ neighbouring farmers­ had­ multiple­ cattle stolen­ in­ the­ past­ six­ months.­ He­ said small­ farmers­ suffered­ the­ most­ and the­ syndicates­ decimated­ their­ stock as­ they­ did­ not­ have­ the­ resources­ to secure­ their­ animals.