Stock thieves cost SA R366m
Cape Town - Stock theft in South Africa, at least the incidents reported, cost the country's farmers hundreds of millions of rand last year.
Speaking during debate on his department's budget vote in the National Assembly, Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mülder told MPs that tens of thousands of cattle, sheep and goats were stolen from farms around the country.
"In the previous year (2009), losses of animals that have been reported stolen, minus the numbers recovered by the (police) stock theft unit, are 34 000 cattle, with a monetary value of R255m; 28 000 goats, value R40m; and 60 000 sheep, value R71m.
"In total, 152 000 animals were stolen, to a total monetary value of R366m... This is a very serious situation," he said.
Briefing the media at Parliament earlier on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterrson said ensuring security and safety on farms was a "critical and urgent priority" for the department.
"In this regard, under the leadership of the minister of police, we have deployed soldiers to patrol our borders especially to curb and arrest activities around stock theft and illegal cross-border movement of agricultural commodities.
"In this context, police presence and visibility in our farming areas will be stepped up," she said.