SA, Zim combating stock theft
Polokwane - A joint effort by Zimbabwean and South African farmers to tackle stock theft along the border is slowly bearing fruit.
The farmers formed Anti-Stock Theft Zimbabwe and Anti-Stock Theft Tshenzhelani three years ago to curb the theft of cattle, goats and donkeys.
“Most of our stock was stolen by our own countrymen who took them to South Africa where they sold them at a very cheap price," said Zimbabwean farmer Frank Nguluvhe, 83, while visiting South Africa on Sunday.
“We later learnt that this was a syndicate that also worked with South Africans who also stole stock in their country and handed them to their Zimbabwean counterparts to sell in Zimbabwe,” Nguluvhe said.
The syndicate was particularly active in the Tshenzhelani, Masisi and Sigonde areas along the Limpopo River near the Kruger National Park.
Nguluvhe said some stolen livestock was also smuggled into Mozambique.
The association has since helped several farmers recover stolen livestock.
Last Wednesday, two cattle were recovered from the South African side of the border, while, on June 13, seven cattle were also recovered.
Chairperson of Limpopo's Masisi Livestock forum, Sunday Mpofu, said stolen cattle smuggled in from Zimbabwe were identified by a "V" branded on them.
Nguluvhe says South African cattle do not carry the "V" brand and are therefore also easy to identify north of the Limpopo.
The farmers have opened several cases of stock theft in their respective countries and are appealing to their communities to expose livestock thieves.
“We appeal to the community to expose criminals who steal our livestock, even if they are your own children, as what they are doing is against the law.
"They are also harming our business," Nguluvhe said.
Another Zimbabwean farmer, Farisani Ndou, 61, says he has been losing cattle to stock thieves since 1993. Solly Dima, 50, from Tshitulipasi in Limpopo says he lost eleven cattle last year alone.
“I am now left with just 20 cattle because of this syndicate,” says Dima.