Cattle dead in bakkie

2019-11-13 06:00

AN Imbali farmer lived his worst nightmare last Friday when eight of his cattle were found slaughtered in a bakkie in Dambuza.

The farmer, Sabelo Mbatha, told The Witness that 18 of his cows went missing during Thursday afternoon’s rain and it was hard to locate them because of the mist. He said he had hoped to search for them the next day.

Thube Zondi, the secretary of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) in the uMgungundlovu District, told The Witness that the slaughtered cattle were found in the early hours of Friday by Plessislaer police officers who were patrolling along Edendale Main Road, near Dambuza.

“The police saw a bakkie with two flat tyres parked on the side of the road in Dambuza. Inside the bakkie they found unskinned animal parts. When they asked the driver where he got the animals from, the driver said he was asked by three men, who he said had gone to look for someone to fix the flat tyres, to transport the dead animals.

“The driver said he had picked up the men and the dead cows in Imbali near the Edendale Mall. The police went there with the driver and found more dead animals, and some were still alive,” said Zondi.

Mbatha said he received a call from the police stock unit on Friday asking him to come identify if some of the cattle were his.

“I went there and found that all the dead cows were mine.

They killed eight of my cattle and four others were found alive close to where the eight were slaughtered, I am still missing six cows.

“It wasn’t a good sight seeing my cattle dead like that. These cattle belonged to my father and after he died I have been taking care of them. They were what I used to sustain my family. What happened is very painful,” said Mbatha.

He said from what he has heard, the stock thieves were intending to sell the meat to butcheries and shisa nyamas in the townships.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of possession of stolen stock was opened at Plessislaer SAPS and was transferred to Pietermaritzburg Stock Theft Unit for further investigation.

She said after the bakkie driver (33) failed to give a satisfactory explanation as to where he got the slaughtered cows from, he was arrested and is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court today.

Afasa secretary Zondi said he has had to urge angry farmers from the Imbali area to calm down, as they wanted to go to Dambuza to find the people who stole and killed Mbatha’s cattle.

“The issue is that this is not an isolated incident. On many occasions where livestock is stolen it has been recovered in Dambuza ... Many farmers wanted to take the law into their own hands at the weekend and we have had to calm them down,” he said.

Zondi said they have, in the past, pleaded with the KZN departments of Community Safety and Liaison, Agriculture and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs to intervene and help them fight against stock theft.

“This year alone in the uMgungundlovu District there have been over 30 stock theft cases reported with almost 500 animals stolen.

“As Afasa we are trying to close the gap between mainstream commercial farmers and emerging farmers.

Having so many stock theft cases is not helping us and we need all our strategic partners and government departments to assist us before emerging farmers become too frustrated and decide to just throw [in] the towel,” said Zondi.

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