Wheels to fight crime

2016-03-02 06:00
ANOTHER DISPLAY?: At the stock theft imbizo and handover ceremony of a double cab 4x4 vehicle at the Mandela Park Fire Station in QwaQwa on Thursday (25/02) are from the left Mohlomi Maine (Anti-Stock Theft Unit Patrollers in Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality), Moeketsi Lebesa (member of the mayoral committee for Public Safety and Transport in the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality) and Mosala Bahlakoana (head of office of the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport).Photos: Tladi Moloi

ANOTHER DISPLAY?: At the stock theft imbizo and handover ceremony of a double cab 4x4 vehicle at the Mandela Park Fire Station in QwaQwa on Thursday (25/02) are from the left Mohlomi Maine (Anti-Stock Theft Unit Patrollers in Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality), Moeketsi Lebesa (member of the mayoral committee for Public Safety and Transport in the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality) and Mosala Bahlakoana (head of office of the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport).Photos: Tladi Moloi

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QWAQWA. – Another brand-new double cab 4x4 vehicle, intended as a tool to reinforce the cross-border fight against stock theft, has been presented to livestock farmers of the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality (MAP).

The handover was done at the Mandela Park Fire Station on Thursday (25/02).

However, the presentation of the vehicle brought about mixed reactions. The Thiba Kgomo Anti-Stock Theft Unit and livestock farmers raised grave concerns that they might not get to use the vehicle, as – according to their claims – was the case with the first vehicle, received previously.

To be exact, in February 2013 Butana Komphela, MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, presented a brand-new double cab 4x4 vehicle and announced it was for use by the stock theft unit. This was done at an event held at the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Office in QwaQwa.

However, the farmers are yet to receive this vehicle. It has not been returned after being taken to Bloemfontein, where it was said it would be registered.

Lephuthing Padi, chairperson of the Thiba Kgomo Anti-Stock Theft Unit, said they were uncertain they would ever use the latest vehicle. He told Express Eastern Free State the first vehicle was never received.

“We were told many stories. We had to use our vehicle to patrol, because we are heavily affected. Stock theft in the Eastern Free State is a major problem and QwaQwa is a hot spot,” Padi said.

He said the double cab 4x4 vehicle would be an important tool for them to fight stock theft crime.

“We always have to be on the lookout. There are cases of the exchange of stolen livestock (cattle and sheep) between Lesotho and South Africa. We are aware we can’t stop that from happening completely, but we must try to minimize it.

“In the past, police patrolled the borders and they did an excellent job.”

Mohlomi Maine, chairperson of the Anti-Stock Theft Unit Patrollers in MAP, indicated they were going to take up the matter of the undelivered vehicle with Komphela, adding they wanted answers as to what had happened to the first vehicle.

“I will run after them until we get that vehicle. We should have two vehicles, including this one,” Maine said.

The meeting at which the vehicle was presented was aimed at addressing rural safety issues. Livestock farmers were warned to be vigilant and take full responsibility for the safety of their livestock by ensuring that cattle and sheep have identifiable markings.

Mosala Bahlakoana, head of office of the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, expressed willingness to help fight livestock theft.

“We appeal to criminals to stop stealing from others, because livestock is the ‘bank’ of black people,” Bahlakoana said.

He gave the police the thumbs-up for the good work done in fighting stock theft.

“I wish they could work harder to fight this crime.”

He said the handover of the vehicle was a token of Komphela’s commitment in the fight against stock theft.

Bahlakoana said the vehicle would be kept on the MAP premises

“The car will be used by people who have the authority to do so and should be utilised to the benefit of the people of QwaQwa,” Bahlakoana said.

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